Updated: Oct 3
In the United Kingdom, Black History Month commences in October, marking a nationwide celebration. Its primary aim is to honour and highlight the significant contributions of individuals with African and Caribbean heritage to British society. Additionally, it seeks to nurture a deeper understanding of Black history on a global scale.
The inspiration behind the UK's Black History Month can be traced, at least in part, to the United States, where African American History Month, also known as US Black History Month, is observed every February. This American observance serves as an annual tribute to the achievements of African Americans and serves as a platform to recognize their central role in shaping the history of the United States.
However, it is essential to acknowledge that while both months share the goal of celebrating Black history, they are distinct and should not be treated as interchangeable. The experiences and perspectives of Black individuals who were born and raised in Britain differ significantly from those in the United States. Unfortunately, these differences are often overlooked, and at times, the unique British Black experience is excluded from conversations surrounding the broader African Diaspora experience.
At Virtue, we put together some Ideas and Charities to support during Black British History Month 2023 + a bunch of ideas on great ways to mark the occasion.
INCREDIBLE PEOPLE AND ORGANISATIONS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Social enterprises like ‘The Black Curriculum’ and ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ have promoted Black History through a series of earnest efforts. From conducting in-person and virtual sessions to curating free and licensable educative resources for students and teachers they have done it all.
The Black Curriculum
The Black Curriculum UK is a social enterprise and educational initiative based in the United Kingdom. Its primary mission is to address the lack of Black history and contributions to the curriculum taught in UK schools. The organization was founded in 2019 by Lavinya Stennett, who recognized the severe underrepresentation of Black history in the British education system.
How did the Black Curriculum Start?
Lavinya Stennett, the Founder and CEO of The Black Curriculum found the British education system ignorant and dismissive of Black history alongside the exclusion of black pupils. This is when she thought of challenging and demolishing Eurocentricity through a fervent emphasis on Black British History inclusion in curriculums and understanding of racism. She started this initiative in 2019.
Identified lacunae in the British curriculum and designed formal and research-based solutions to include Black History in it
Worked with students in more than five countries; UK, US, Egypt, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Columbia, India.
Offered educative, resourceful and engaging content to staff and students on how to make curriculums effective and inclusive of black history, global racism and Eurocentrism.
Written series of books on Black history, offered online courses via Future Learn
Conducted CCA (Curriculum Consultation Audits) with Haringey Education Partnership, Merton, Greenwich and standalone schools
Delivered workshops to 1800 students and training to 6000+ teachers
By 2025, they are aiming to reach 20000+ students on an annual basis
Looking forward to working with major UK exam boards
Have employees all over UK
Achieving the status of the best and trusted deliverer/partner for Black History lessons
Making sure that students, parents and teachers are better equipped with knowledge and resources on Black history and able to discuss difficult subjects without hesitation
To get involved and make your contribution, visit their website at theblackcurriculum.com
Black Cultural Archives
The mission of Black Cultural Archives is dedicated to gathering, safeguarding, and commemorating the histories of individuals of African and Caribbean heritage in the United Kingdom. Their goal is not only to inspire but also to empower individuals, communities, and society as a whole.
Show Racism the Red Card
Show Racism the Red Card is a UK-based anti-racism charity and educational organization that primarily focuses on combating racism and discrimination, particularly in the context of football (soccer). The organization was founded in 1996 by former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and is supported by various prominent footballers, including Patrice Evra, Thierry Henry, and Ryan Giggs, among others.
The primary goal of "Show Racism the Red Card" is to raise awareness about racism, promote diversity and inclusion, and educate young people, players, and the wider community about the harmful effects of racism. They use the popularity of football to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds to tackle racism both within the sport and in society as a whole.
Southall Black Sisters
Southall Black Sisters has a strong and enduring commitment to intersectional feminism, recognizing that the experiences of BME women are shaped by their ethnicity, gender, and other factors. Their work has been instrumental in advancing the rights and well-being of BME women in the UK and challenging systemic inequalities and injustices. Please note that their activities and initiatives may have evolved since my last knowledge update in September 2021, so I recommend visiting their official website for the most current information on their work.
WAYS TO SUPPORT BLACK BRITISH HISTORY MONTH AS A BUSINESS THIS OCT
🖤 Pay heed to your employees' voices. The most effective approach to taking meaningful action on behalf of a particular community is to inquire directly about their desires and needs. This is particularly vital when it comes to comprehending and demonstrating respect for an individual's identity within diverse cultural contexts.
🖤 Empower yourself through education. Enhance your understanding and knowledge of the history and culture of Black communities in the United Kingdom. For instance, delve into the Bristol bus boycott, the Windrush generation and its subsequent scandal, and other pivotal figures and events in the history of Black communities in the UK.
🖤Support people and organisations making a difference by giving back during this Black British History. If you are an eCommerce business - consider giving a portion of sales and offering checkout donations for empower shoppers to be a part of change.
And if you are looking for a simple and effective way to support a great cause from eCommerce sales during BBHM and beyond - checkout Virtue Giving App. Start supporting causes from sales instantly
Have a great month making a difference!