October marks Black History Month (BHM) in the UK. This month is not only a time to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of African, Caribbean, and Asian history that have helped shape our rich and diverse culture, but it's also a time to tackle racism, educate around Black history, and challenge ourselves to become better allies.
The Egress Diversity and Belonging Forum created several internal virtual activities throughout October 2022 to celebrate Black History Month.
Employees sent in short biographies of Black heroes they admire, which were shared daily. These included inspirational figures like Mikaela Loach, Riz Ahmed, and Munroe Burgdorf. We also sent out weekly newsletters focusing on educating our colleagues on topics central to BHM, covering: ‘What is UK Black History Month?’ and ‘Why is it important?’, Black British tech innovators making history today, Black and Trans (in line with LGBTQ+ History Month, also in October), and allyship.
To further our education during this month, we also set up a book club to read ‘Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire’ by Akala. Those who participated had an in-depth discussion on the main themes from the book, including growing up poor, mixed-race and politicised in the Britain of the 1980s and 1990s; why the structural racism that so evidently determines the life chances of so many non-white people is virtually invisible to some of their fellow citizens; and why the majority of people in Britain today believe that the empire was a force for good in the world, despite the growing weight of evidence to the contrary (as mentioned in this review by The Guardian).
In addition to our educational endeavours, we also had some fun by running a musical quiz that showcased the fantastic Black British Music from the 1970s through to today.
Additionally, Egress donated £1000 to Love Music, Hate Racism – a music-oriented anti-racism charity based in Britain, with our donation helping them to continue their great work.
Our Diversity and Belonging Forum has a lot planned for 2022 to continue to create a culture where everyone can feel safe and be their authentic selves. If you would like to learn more about our Forum, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.