Black History Month 2022 is a time for change. To celebrate it we asked four of our people to tell us what it means to them.
In 2022 the theme for Black History Month is 'time for change: action not words'. This celebration of Black heritage and culture, and its contribution to the diversity of life in the UK falls in October – but, we see our people putting it into practice every day. To find out what this means, we asked four of them a different question: from what they love to share about their culture, to addressing more challenging issues in inclusivity and leadership.
"Inclusive conversations and behaviours are not nine-to-five practices that we leave at the office door, or when we shut down our laptops to pick up again at work the following day. It should be part of our daily interactions: at home, at work and in our social lives.
For inclusive conversations in the workplace to have sustainable and valuable outcomes we must be:
My advice is to be bold, move beyond the ‘awareness’ stage and identify the impact that these conversations are having in our firm. Are people feeling a sense of belonging? If not, why not? If these questions are answered and supported by data, then we know that inclusive conversations, even challenging ones, are making a positive difference to the culture of our firm."
"Black History Month is a reminder of how proud I am to be Black, how much I love Black culture and how we are all one but still all so diverse – our colour; our clothing; our history. As cliché as it may sound, I wish every month could be Black History Month, but if there's one month where the struggles of our people are highlighted even more - I'll take it. It's important to reflect and feel heard.
This time allows even those that are not Black to learn and understand the impact of our heritage and impact that key Black figures, like Rosa Parks or Muhammad Ali, have had in society. Whether Black American history or Black British history, there's so much to learn. It’s not just about the struggles of Black people (racism and slavery), but it spotlights Black achievement."
A call for a collective people to unite and speak with one voice.
This exhilarating call to attention is an incredible part of my culture. I wish more people knew, understood, and embedded its philosophy into their own lives. It means that as a community, we’ve always understood the importance of living for all. And in turn, all supporting the one.
This philosophy continues to shape my personal and professional life. In every situation, I’m always considering how I can best empower those around me, and in turn receive support, in a perpetual cycle of give and receive.
I believe so strongly in this universal truth, that now more than ever we stand at history’s dawn, with a single opportunity to stand and live for so much more.
Today, I challenge you to hold in your heart the single most important element of my culture; live for the betterment and progression of more than just yourself, as we say…
"My parents relocated from Nigeria before I was born. There were challenges to being brought up in the UK, rather than Nigeria. One that stands out is that my parents didn’t think the English schools were pushing us enough.
I love the fact that as a first-generation migrant, I have been able to continue to celebrate our culture and traditions in the UK. As Nigerians, we get together in times of need and we know how to party.
Rich in culture and colour, I would forever be proud to say I am a British-born Nigerian."