Black History Month is an annual celebration of the contributions and history of people from the African diaspora. Black History Month started in the United States, where celebrations take place during the month of February, whilst in the UK, BHM is every October.
Black History Month was started to showcase the amazing contributions of Black people and communities from across the world. In Britain, our culture has been enriched and our society has been made stronger because of the people who travelled here to build new lives in the UK, as well as the achievements and contributions of their descendants.
This year, Touchstone and Leeds Mind have come together to honour the achievements and sacrifices of people who came to our shores to build a better, more tolerant Britain but also to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
During the month of October, we will be creating space for our Black staff to share their experiences and contributions and we will end with a webinar on the history of colonialism, led by Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, Reader in Postcolonial Literature at Leeds Beckett University on 21st October 11-12.30 pm.
Chief Executive of Touchstone, Alison Lowe commented, “Black History Month 2020 is more important this year than it has ever been. This is the year of George Floyd, Covid-19 and the realisation that the UK is still a deeply unequal society; even more so if you are Black. Touchstone has been having the conversation about racism and injustice for many years and we are proud of our role supporting underserved people and communities to help themselves to better outcomes – which is their entitlement. This year we will continue to amplify the voices of Black people and we will not stop until real change happens”.
Leeds Mind Chief Executive, Helen Kemp added “Black History Month is a wonderful celebration of Black culture and history, and also provides an opportunity to hear about today’s Black experience. With our organisation’s focus on mental wellbeing, we want to give Black voices a platform to speak about mental health, and about their experience of the mental healthcare system in the UK.
We aspire towards better mental health for all, and yet we know that many are still marginalised within the UK’s mental health system. This year more than ever we want to work with the Black community, our partners and anti-racist allies to deliver services that are more inclusive to everyone”.