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While the US has always celebrated this month in February, the UK continues to keep it in October. The 2023 theme for Black History Month is ‘Celebrating our sisters, saluting our sisters, and matriarchs of the movements’, which looks to shine a light on the black women who have helped to lead and shape black history, art, and community relations.
Black History Month is an opportunity for individuals and institutions alike to make sure that we understand the past in order to help provide a more inclusive and diverse future.
It's a chance for people to talk openly about black leaders, humanitarians, artists, creatives, and thought leaders who are continuing to break new ground. And for people who aren't black but want to help during this awareness month, it's also a chance to listen and learn.
In the UK, the contribution of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds throughout art, culture, and history has been integral to forming Britain as we know it. Unfortunately, those contributions can be often dismissed or completely ignored.
Generally speaking, schools may teach a history that focuses on white leaders and their roles throughout the centuries. Black History Month allows us all to praise and share awareness about the black contributions to our diverse country and beyond.
There’s no wrong way to do your part in celebrating Black History Month. Whether it’s discussing the month with your friends, actively looking to support black artists, or simply sharing information actress your social media channels (this year’s hashtag is #WEMATTER), what matters most is that you’re getting involved.
If you’re eager to do more than sharing on social media, consider donating to a mental health charity like Black Minds Matter UK, or learn more about the goals of Black History Month through their official magazine.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what others are planning to do during this month too. It should never be the responsibility of the black community to push these conversations forward alone, and we all have duty to keep these things at the forefront of people’s minds.
While no one should ever overlook the harsh realities of racism and bigotry in the UK, Black History Month is also about overcoming obstacles, achievements, and reminding the nation about the contribution the black community have made to our history and culture.
By recognising those who are marginalised, and discussing how each of us can help to keep these conversations going, we all play a part in helping to prevent the ignorance and mistakes of the past from repeating themselves, and instead, look to cultivate true equality for all.
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