Black History Month is here, and you may be wondering just where you can go to learn, discover and explore Black history, both past and present. Well, take a look below at the resources Oxfordshire Youth has been enjoying this month.
1. What is Black History Month and why do we need it?
We have seen a rise in the use of the term ‘Black History Month’, but to understand what that means on a practical level, watch this Tedˣ Talk by Don John on why Black History matters to us as Brits today.
2. Where can I learn more about being a young person during this time?
There are so many podcasts out there, which have fantastic information, but a particular favourite is our very own Oxfordshire Youth’s podcast mini series Are You Listening.
Covering topics such as Fantastic Allies and Where to Find Them and Young, Gifted and Black, it gives listeners a refreshing, youth-based perspective on what it means to be a young Black person today.
3. How can I be a good ally?
Being an ally is a core part of supporting Black history and culture, and it expands beyond the month of October. The Power of Privilege: How White People Can Challenge Racism by June Sarpong outlines the principles of allyship and gives readers practical steps they can take to help build a fairer future for all.
4. “What is systemic racism?”: Young people’s questions answered
It is understandable that young people have questions about big topics, and we should not shy away from helping them explore these within a youth work setting. The BBC met with Professor Kehinde Andrews (Professor of Black History at Birmingham City University), Dr Christienna Fryar (lecturer of Black British History at Goldsmiths University) and Shaun Bailey (Conservative politician and former youth worker) to answer young people’s questions that primarily arose out of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Watch their video on Youtube now.
5. How to talk to young people about race
The Red Cross has developed a set of resources to talking to children and young people about race for teachers, parents and those who support young people. Please visit the Red Cross website for more information.
The learning objectives seek to discuss racism in an open and safe environment, help develop understanding through active listening, explore what a stereotype is, start to challenge assumptions we hear and see in the media, celebrate others’ differences and similarities, and for adults and young people to be empowered to create an anti-racist environment.
6. Understanding the issues Black people in Britain have faced
A popular book this year is Natives by Akala. This is your sign to go out and read it! The book seeks to explain Black history and experiences in Britain through the eyes of the hip-hop artist and performer Akala. You can find his book at most popular book shops, online or at your local library.
Waterstones said: “Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives speaks directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialised empire.”
7. Where to go to learn more about culture
PAST FUTURES, a Croydon-based organisation, is running a virtual exhibition called The Sounds of Croydon: From Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy. This online exhibition “follows the journey of Croydon’s most influential musicians”.
PAST FUTURES said: “Launching on October 1st to mark the start of Black History Month in the UK, The Sounds of Croydon: From Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy, led by Croydon resident and head curator Micha Nestor, will follow the journey of Croydon’s most influential musicians, celebrating the history of Croydon’s global influence on music over the last 120 years, from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy.”
Please Visit the PAST FUTURES website for more information.
8. Want to know more about influential female figures in history?
Artist Latifat Obanigba has developed Her Story, a free online exhibition running until 3rd November in partnership with The Hug Support Group to celebrate Black women breaking barriers throughout history. The exhibition seeks to support women in history and remind us all that Black British history is everyone’s history and it plays a vital part of our culture.
The Hug Support Group Said: “The BAME community has been underrepresented for decades. By celebrating Black culture and including the whole community into a significant event we aim at promoting a positive image of the Black community, women in particular. We aim at raising awareness around invisible and silenced topics that affected Black women more than ever.”
Sign up via Eventbrite to avoid missing out.
9. What about modern history makers?
There have been some huge steps forward in terms of recognising the achievements of influential people from the BAME community. Here are a few we think you should know about.
Ndidi Okezie, OBE
Ndidi Okezie was appointed as the CEO of UK Youth in January 2020 and has received an OBE in this year’s Queen’s Honours List for services to Young People during the COVID-19 response.
The organisation said: “Joining UK Youth as CEO in January 2020, Ndidi is an influential public advocate, delivering transformational change in a variety of contexts. She is deeply committed to youth work, life skills development, and youth equality.
“Ndidi is also a board member for youth homelessness charity Centrepoint UK, the National Citizen Service and The Mulberry Schools Trust. She brings an exciting new chapter for UK Youth.”
You can read more about Okezie here. Okezie can also be found on Twitter: @Ndidi1st
Marcus Rashford, MBE
Footballer Marcus Rashford was made an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Honours list for services to vulnerable children during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rashford used his own experiences as a young boy to bring to light an issue that faces many young people and families today regarding free school meals. He campaigned to ensure young people had access to free school meals and helped countless families manage meal times throughout the Covid-19 pandemic when schools were closed.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE
Baroness Lawrence has campaigned tirelessly for police reform after her son, Stephen Lawrence, lost his life in 1993. She started a charitable trust in his name, and has just announced the launch of a new charity, The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. The foundation aims to mark the day Lawrence lost his life, as a way to spotlight and dismantle racial inequality.
Visit the Black History Month website to find out more.
10. What should I do next?
FutureLearn has put together a fantastic resource full of information for us to use with signposting on anything from where to donate, petitions to sign, resources for supporting mental health and even films and books to educate yourselves with.
FutureLearn said it is committed to improving inclusion and access to educational resources, stating its page seeks to “help Black learners feel supported – and non-Black learners to become better allies.”
Visit the FutureLearn website to find out more.
Black History Month may be celebrated in October, but it is a vital part of our lives all year around. Use this opportunity to learn more about Black history and culture, have conversations with friends, family members and young people, and find out more. But, above all else, remember that Black lives matter.