The blog post below was written by Sasha, a previous Graduate Volunteer with Youthscape who now works for Phase. She hopes you find her reflection of what Black History Month means to her helpful.

Community

This October marks the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK, and essentially, it’s all about community, old and new. Those who made a difference and who are continuing to make a difference; celebrating what has gone before as well as what is helping to make today better. Black History Month is designed to recognise the history, experiences and accomplishments of those who are from an ethnic background.

The funny thing is, history can be found in everything, whether that’s the screen you’re reading this on, or the pen and notebook you have lying around. Everything has a story. So I thought I’d write this article a little differently and share a story… a little bit of history if you like.

Once upon a time (it’s not a real story if it doesn’t start like that, right?) in 1961, a little girl was born to a family in Ghana. She was 5th child, and the 3rd girl at that. As she grew up she dreamed of becoming a nurse, and her family made the necessary arrangements to send her to the UK so that she could study. She completed her nurse training and went on to have three little girls who she raised single-handedly, and although she was a single parent, she always used the little that she had to help, support and encourage others. Her door was always open. She was a mother to all the kids in the area, and would invite them over and cook for them. She had a heart for the community. Whenever anyone needed help she would go above and beyond for them.

The woman I speak of excelled in her field and even became one of the only female managers in the hospital where she worked. She constantly challenged herself to be the best she could be and encouraged others to do likewise, using her skills and talents to benefit all she came into contact with. She overcame the odds, she impacted and continues to impact lives. She’s not afraid of risk or challenge. She sees a need and tries to do her best to help. Recently, she returned to her homeland and started a charity to help and support children and young people to reach their full potential, providing supplies and materials to help remove barriers to learning and to give others the opportunity and start that her parents gave to her.

She is an example of what Black history is.

She is an example of an ordinary person making a difference.

She is my hero.

She is my mother.

This is my history – what’s yours?

 

 

 

 

 

Lord Ouseley said, “Black History Month is essential in promoting learning, providing information and contributing to community cohesion. For the past 30 years it has shone, and continues to shine, a beacon of light on the facts about Black history, heritage, legacy and the on-going struggles for equality and justice”.

So I ask - who is making a difference to your community? Take the time this month to sit, to chat, to listen to someone’s journey and hear their story. Find out how they overcame their struggles or difficulties and what you can learn from them. You may not be from an ethnic background, but that doesn’t matter - we can all learn from each other. Find out about them and share some of yourself with them. The more we cross the divide, the less this month is about “us and them”. Black History Month is about OUR history, OUR story. Something we share together.