In the UK, October marks Black History Month (BHM) – a national celebration aiming to celebrate and promote the contributions of those with African and Caribbean heritage to British society and to cultivate an understanding of Black history more generally. People from African and Caribbean backgrounds have been an integral part of British history for centuries, but their contributions and value to society is often overlooked, ignored or distorted. In addition to this, many schools teach a curriculum which focuses on traditional events and the achievements of white figures.
BHM gives us all the opportunity to better understand the impact of black heritage and culture, to recognise these contributions and achievements, and to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes more broadly.
There is a new theme for BHM in 2022: ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words.’ Central to this theme is acknowledging and learning from the past, but calls for action to achieve a better tomorrow. It calls for everyone to come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone – where there is continued action against racism, the reclaiming of Black history, and actions to ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.
Sport 4 Life UK (S4L) – and indeed the wider sport-for-development sector and community – has highlighted its commitment to strengthening diversity and tackling inequality, and joins this year’s BHM theme calling for action. Celebrating diversity and tackling all forms of discrimination are central tenets of our organisation and the sector, and underpin its strategic objective to realise the potential of sport and physical activity as a ‘team player’ in levelling up the UK and building back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement’ articulates our collective commitment and ongoing actions. And our 2021/22 impact shows the diversity of the beneficiaries we are proud to support – with 80% from ethnically diverse communities, inclusive of 798 Black African and Caribbean young people.
This month, as an organisation, we will celebrate, raise awareness and education. Following the launch of this Blog, each week we are planning a separate activity, aimed at generating and promoting action. In week 2 of October, some of the team are coming together to support and celebrate black comedians at a local event in Birmingham. In week 3, we’re sharing a ‘Spotlight’ on two charities that make a huge impact everyday – especially within the Black community, and in week 4, we’re educating ourselves and others through an interactive quiz (on the US theme of ‘health and wellness’ this year). We hope you can engage with us this month, as we commit to action, not words.