The theme for this year’s Black History Month is Time for Change: Actions Not Words. The purpose of this theme is not just to educate people on Black History but inform and empower people to be true allies in the anti-racism movement.
Please find below an excerpt from Black History Month 2022 as well as information on how you can be an active bystander and improve your allyship. We have compiled a list of local and online events that have been organised to celebrate Black History Month, if you know of any events or activities you would like us to promote, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents
- Black History Month 2022
- What is Black History Month?
- How to improve your Allyship and Active Bystander Skills
- Useful Resources
- What’s on in Leeds?
- Online Black History Month Events
“Black people are often given the double burden of experiencing racism and discrimination, and then being expected to fix it. Hopefully, by making the theme of this year’s Black History Month magazine and website Time for Change: Action Not Words’ we can come together to make a change for the better.
Yes, Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black history, heritage and culture, and the iconic figures that have contributed so much, but this year, let’s make it about so much more. If you’re serious about allyship, it’s Time for Change: Action Not Words.”
(Black History Month, 2022)
October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom. This national celebration aims to promote and celebrate contributions of Black people to British society and foster a deeper understanding of Black history. Black History Month UK was initiated in 1987 by Ghanaian-born Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, a special projects officer at the Greater London Council, and later at the London Strategic Policy Unit. The first Black History Month UK took place after Addai-Sebo decided to tackle the identity crisis Black children faced in the UK.
When Black History Month first started in the UK, there was a large focus on Black American History. However, over time, the spotlight has shifted to focus more on Black British history.
Black History Month’s origins date back to the early 20th century when Carter G Woodson was concerned of the world’s silence on Black achievement. Woodson was born in 1875 to parents who were former slaves. He struggled to obtain an education but later went on to get his PhD at Harvard University and refused to turn a blind eye on Black excellence.
In February 1926, Woodson began observing ‘African American History Week’. Woodson and his Colleagues compiled a programme of events and lesson plans to improve race relations. Even after Woodson’s death in 1950 the week continued to gain momentum. It was in 1976 the week was extended to a month and turn into what we now know as Black History Month in America.
Angela M (CEO of International Black History Month-UK) explains the origins of Black History Month UK and how to celebrate it.
During Black History Month, it is important for as many people to get involved regardless of their race. An essential way for you to get involved is through developing your allyship and active bystander skills.
Being an ally for racial equality (or for any injustice) starts with listening and amplifying voices. It isn’t a tag for someone to wear, it’s a continued practice for someone to commit to. It shouldn’t centre yourself; it is all about assisting others.
How can I practice genuine allyship in support for racial equality?
- Analyse your own prejudices.
- Educate yourself on racism and how it is impacting the people around you. When educating yourself it is important to not burden those around you through asking questions that maybe difficult and traumatic for Black people. Your education on this topic is your own responsibility.
- Be an active bystander and speak up when you see racism happening.
- Show up and be present; at protests, talks, writing to your MP, voting for people committed to making legislative change.
Being an Active Bystander
Experiences of harassment and discrimination happen daily and go on all around us. At some point in our lives, we will be aware that someone is experiencing harassment or may even be in danger. We can either choose to do or say something, or let it go and continue with our day. During Black History Month (and all year round) we encourage our University community to be active and choose to do or say something, proving you feel safe to do so.
When people are active bystanders, it signals to the perpetrator and others that the behaviour isn’t acceptable. If this message is regularly enforced, we can make a community that can hopefully eliminate that type of behaviour.
Find out more guidance about being an active bystander.
Developing your allyship skills is a key way to support Black people. It may start during BHM, but it does need to be a continued practice.
Intersectionality describes the ways in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class and other forms of discrimination “intersect” to create unique dynamics and effects (Intersectional Justice, 2022).
The term ‘Intersectionality’ was originally coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. Crenshaw delivered a Ted Talk on Intersectionality.
Understanding intersectionality is crucial to ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, their story is valued, and their experiences are shared. It is important to take consideration of how characteristics other than race can impact the lived experience of Black people. Last year, Black History Month 2021 highlighted these individual experiences through their campaign ‘Proud to be.’
The Business Disability Forum (BDF) are celebrating historical figures who you may or not be aware of as well as stories from the BDF membership and beyond around race and disability.
1 Oct – Leeds Black History Walk (11AM, £7)
1 Oct – Leeds Black Art, Charity & Enterprise Festival (11AM, £2-3)
20 Oct – Black History Month 2022: Black Laughter, Sacred Ground (5:30-8:30PM, Free)
22 Oct – Leeds Black History Walk (11AM, £7)
26 Oct – Annual Race Lecture, Leeds Beckett University (6-8PM, Free)
27 Oct – Black Futures Not Yet Lost: Black Abolitionism and the Politics of History (5PM, Free)
30 Oct – COBO : Comedy Shutdown Black History Month Special (7:45PM, £19.99)
31 Oct – Breaking Boundaries in STEM: How to make everyone feel included (12-1PM, Free)
11 Oct – Influencing Change in the Midst of Changing: Black Women in Academia (12:00pm, a listening online event with Dr Sally Osei-Appiah – University of Leeds, Phoenix Nacto – Leeds Beckett University, Professor Uduak Archibong – Pro Vice Chancellor EDI, University of Bradford and Dr Tiffany Holloman – Project Manager, Brad-ATTAIN & YCEDE, University of Bradford)
14 Oct – Brazilian ethno-cultural formation, African diaspora resistance, and Afro Brazilian cultural processes, Prof Sheila Aragão, Zumbi dos Palmares University, Brazil (12:05PM, Free)
17 Oct – BHM2022 at LSBU: An evening with historian Robin Walker (6PM, Free)
19 Oct – Understanding and Challenging Intersectional Inequalities for Black women, University of Surrey (3:30PM, free hybrid lecture)
26 Oct – Annual Race Lecture, Leeds Beckett University (6-8PM, Free)