October is Black History Month: Celebrating, remembering & acknowledging

Union Matters

Amarjite says: “This photo was from 2019, when we organised a BHM event with local school pupils at the Senned Cymru (Welsh Parliament). It was supported by Wales TUC as well as the Show Racism the Red Card campaign. The lady speaking in the photo is Jenny Rathbone, the Assembly Member for Cardiff Central, who sponsored the event. And the youngsters are from two Cardiff schools, Mount Stewart and Adamsdown, which is the school I went to many years ago!”

Black History Month is upon us and the CWU has always been proud to acknowledge the importance of this annual celebration of those in the black community, the role models of today and the trailblazers of the past, who provide so much inspiration.

Many of you will be aware that we have developed a fantastic mobile black history exhibition, which was created from sponsoring branches and regions, and opportunities are still available if a branch has a chosen profile they would like created – just give our equality, education & development department a call.

The exhibition is available for loan free of charge, although if you do use the exhibition in your workplaces we ask that a donation is made to our chosen charity, which is the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) a charity which works to raise awareness of stem cell, blood and organ donation across all communities in the UK, but with a particular focus on overcoming the shortage of potential African and Caribbean donors.

The CWU has never bought into the concept that black history should be limited to one month and so the opportunity to organise a loan of the exhibition will run right through to August 2022 and this will, hopefully, ensure some of the exhibition profiles get out to every region.

Our union now has two NEC BAME leads – Ali Moosa (T&FS) and Amarjite Singh (Postal) – and both are keen supporters of Black History Month (BHM).

Ali says: “Black History Month has been celebrated in the United Kingdom every October since 1987. The event is formally recognised by the Government and highlights the contributions of black people to the economic, social and political landscape of the UK.

“During October, we’ll be using our platform to celebrate the achievements of our black union members. And to recognise the achievements and the heritage of BAME people around the world. It will be an opportunity to educate and raise awareness of black history, which can bring positive change. “

And Amarjite is equally enthusiastic, adding: “Black History Month is inclusive of all people of colour. People of colour in the UK have trodden the same path through their generations, subjects in the British Empire, immigrants to the ‘motherland’, ‘welcomed’ and treated as second-class citizens and outsiders. BHM reflects that long path and draws inspiration from it. BHM says proudly this is where we came from, this is what we achieved and we are a part of this country.

“BHM raises the profile of black people and their history in the UK and wider afield and our history cannot be hidden or ignored.  Neither should it be hemmed in to just one month a year. Its inspiration has to be present 365 days a year,” insists Amarjite.

“Our schools have to reflect it in their history teaching. Our sports have to reflect it in the behaviour of players and spectators.”

  • Black History Month is a celebration, like all celebrations, it can be infectious in drawing in new people and reaching new places. For a wider look at BHM events during October, please see here