Black History Month 2022 - Strength Through Culture

Georgina Clarke 22 September 2022

Black History Month 2022 - Strength Through Culture

Black History Month is a landmark period for us at Speakers Corner. We believe history provides context for the present, and we are fortunate enough to work with many speakers that go beyond stories of racism and slavery to highlight black achievement.

Our latest virtual speaker showcase took place on 8th September and we were thrilled to see a large audience turnout to listen to our incredible speakers.

Our inspirational host for this event was British African media broadcaster Henry Bonsu. Henry kicked off the showcase with a beautiful introduction about Black History Month, sharing why we celebrate and promote this important event, and explaining that the theme for this year’s Black History Month is ‘Time for change, action not words’. Henry followed this by warmly welcoming our talented and moving speakers, along with handling some burning questions from our eager to learn audience!

Our captivating first speaker, Journalist and Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, Dr Kehinde Andrews, discussed the importance of not only why but how we should show support for social change through different rituals, campaigns and ideas. He emphasised that we should be having these ‘uncomfortable conversations’, in order to move forward for social change.

Kehinde states that the focus should not be how people look, or colour of those within a certain function etc. Instead, the focus must be on the internal thoughts and considerations the group holds. Although it’s important to note that it’s crucial to have people from diverse backgrounds within one organization, but not in a form of tokenism.

Kehinde covered many important, interesting and thoughtful ideas – all of which you can learn more about by watching the showcase HERE.

Our moving second speaker for our showcase was Academic, Broadcaster and Author Emma Dabiri. Emma discussed the fundamental flaws behind Black History Month, suggesting there is separation between the history of Blacks and the British; along with there not being enough emphasis and understanding on the true history of Blacks, which leads onto why the current diversity and inclusion initiatives are in place and necessary.

Together, Henry and Emma discussed the fact that there is currently the most diverse UK Government in place and whilst this is a fantastic step forward, it’s crucial to remember that we cannot assume societal class from skin colour. Henry and Emma also explained that there needs to be more historical engagement; suggesting that there is a fundamental inability within the UK to have an honest and robust analysis, awareness and conversation on the history of the empire. Additionally, the pair disclose that it’s important not to feel guilty for being born into the structural ways of society, however it’s crucial to take responsibility for what you do to combat these structures.

Emma additionally covered many other stimulating ideas, all of which can be seen by watching our full showcase HERE.

Our incredible final speaker for this virtual showcase was none other than Campaigner, Scholar and Director of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Dr Makaziwe Mandela. Makaziwe raised the issue of systematic racism within the workplace and articulated that it’s important for individual employees to enter their organization with their diverse backgrounds and cultural differences, as well as sharing their experiences and thoughts with their colleagues.

Makaziwe expressed that it’s fundamental to understand and engage with history, as otherwise “we don’t see where the opportunities are to correct the historical wrongs.” The issue of racism must be addressed and discussed within society and corporations, with change starting at the leadership levels.

Makaziwe furthermore spoke about crucial things to consider within racism, all of which you can watch her discuss HERE.

After all of our engaging and moving speakers shared their thoughts, experiences and ideas, we entered an interactive Q&A with our audience; which our host Henry led. During this reciprocated session, our speakers developed further on previously spoken about topics, and answered questions giving specific scenarios.

We want to thank everyone who watched and interacted with our speakers during this virtual showcase, we had a fantastic time hosting this event and we’re thrilled to hear that many of you did too!

Henry, Kehinde, Emma and Makaziwe are all available to be booked for your upcoming Black History Month, diversity and inclusion event!

PLEASE NOTE: Black History Month takes place in October and many of our speakers are rapidly becoming fully booked - please get in touch with our booking team on 020 7607 7070.

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