The theme for Black History Month this year is Time For Change: Action Not Words. The theme was chosen this year to not only celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people to the UK, but to also continue actions to “tackle racism, reclaim Black history and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.”
This resonates for many young Black people across the UK who want to make a change all year round and for some, and Black History Month allows for their achievements to be celebrated even more so as well allowing them to feel empowered and proud.
The Tab spoke to six Black people on what Black History Month means to them in 2022.
Kayla is a 22-year-old Black business owner from the UK. She told the Tab she initially struggled to connect with her “roots” when she was younger due to living in a largely white community. Kayla says: “Black History Month means so much to me as it has taught me to feel empowered, to honour my achievements as a Black person and shout them from the rooftops.”
This month has allowed Kayla to “feel valued and celebrated as a Black individual”. “I no longer shy away from my blackness, I’m in tune with my Black excellence. I’m no longer afraid of labels. I’m proud to be a young, Black, female business owner and I look forward to keep recognising the brilliance within the Black community,” she said.
Christlyn is a first year university student and she feels that Black History Month is “all about paying tribute to our forefathers, our past and our heritage.” She acknowledges that there is still a lot of injustice and pain present in today’s society but she continues to “celebrate our achievements, connect with the legacies that have been left behind and to recall the resilience of my people.” She told The Tab: “Additionally, it gives me the chance to help the next generation comprehend their deep roots as people of colour and people of excellence.”
Christyln said: “As a Ghanaian born in Germany and raised in the United Kingdom, I was never taught anything about my own history in school. I was taught that race was an American issue, but this contradicted the daily experiences of Black British people, or simply Black people generally in majority white schools or workplaces.
“I believe it’s vitally crucial for the Black community to unite, educate ourselves, educate the public and eventually restore the long-erased portions of our past. During Black History Month, everyone has the chance to learn more about the consequences of racism and how to dispel false perceptions. It also honours and acknowledges the significant contributions by amazing Black people that I look up to. Black is beautiful, Black is beautiful joy and Black is excellent.”
Rushan Tonge Bobia is an online content creator and Olympic weightlifter from the UK and to her, Black History Month “is a time to appreciate my rich history and culture in all its glory.” She shared with The Tab: “It is a reminder to celebrate all the work of our ancestors that got us to where we are today. I also feel proud during Black History Month especially when I am competing, I feel a sense of confidence that I don’t usually have.”
Content creators Lydia and Alma believe Black History Month is a reminder for them to “remain curious about our history and our ancestors.” They said: “Speak to your elders, watch a documentary, travel to a historical land and get a tour, be curious about where you come from! We were amazed to find through research just how many Black entrepreneurs, landowners and inventors there were and still are today. Black History Month is also a reminder of our own history.
“It’s so inspiring to learn how our ancestors somehow remained creative, inspired and determined despite facing the unimaginable. If they could do it, why can’t we?”
Linda E is a radio presenter and model from the UK and when she was growing up she always looked forward to Black History Month. “I knew that things would be done that represented me whether it be activities, food or guest speakers,” she said.
Linda said: “I love learning about our difference cultures and our heroes who made advancements in times harsher than now. But once the month is over there is always that little sadness that wishes it could last longer and feels the difference. Participating in Black History Month for me is just normal, I celebrate Blackness all the time. From my outfit choices, to supporting initiatives like Black Pound Day and ‘buying Black’ whenever I can. In the words of Issa Rae: ‘I’m rooting for everyone Black’.”
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