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A look back on Black History Month in Basingstoke and Deane

Black History Month, celebrated in October, is an occasion to honour the contributions of Black people throughout history. This year’s theme was ‘Saluting our Sisters.’  This gave us the opportunity to honour and uplift the achievements of Black women who have shaped our world and more importantly Basingstoke and Deane. It is important to take a moment to reflect on the meaningful events and recognition that took place.

It was wonderful to see the range of events and activities that took place across Basingstoke and Deane organised by the borough council, community members and the hospital.  

We started the month off with a flag raising. This small gesture was important to me because it shows the council’s commitment to listening to the voices of our Black community members and celebrating diversity in the borough. Other events presented a glimpse into untold Black histories and explored the current experiences of Black people in shaping all aspects of society. This was true hearing from Mr Jordan and Natalie Creary at the launch event showcasing the ongoing commitment to making positive changes but highlighting the number of inequalities Black people still face in the workplace and the community. This allowed me to reflect on how change is happening within the council and my aspirations of pushing for change and creating inclusive communities as an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion officer. 

Along with the community and hospital, the council had the privilege to be at the unveiling of a plaque for mama Jean in honour of her trailblazing contribution to shaping the healthcare system in Basingstoke and nursing training. The plaque serves as a reminder of her dedication, resilience and unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of others and paving the way for future generations to pursue a career in healthcare.  

The final event was an awards ceremony organised by Kikoi Connection. This allowed us to recognise outstanding individuals who have made a significant contribution to our community. It was a heartwarming event, filled with stories of selfless dedication, tireless advocacy and unwavering commitment to making a difference.  It was truly inspiring to learn about the achievements of the award winners and hearing how key leaders in the borough intend to shape our community for the better. 

Looking ahead   
This is just the start and there is still much more for us to do. As much as we celebrate the rich diversity across our borough, we must also reflect on the past, and the ongoing challenge of achieving racial equality. Therefore, as we look to celebrate Race Equality Week in February and as the theme is listen take action, I would like to share with you my top tips to being an active peer and ally.

Top tips to allyship 

  • Be ready to be vulnerable. Being an ally is not an easy task. It requires courage to accept truths outside of lived experience, reflect on your own biases and speak up when no one else will.  
  • Be curious: inform yourself at every opportunity. Take the initiative to educate yourself about the struggles and achievements of people of colour. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that allow you to learn more about different cultures.  
  • Amplify voices. Use your platform and privilege to amplify the voices of people of colour. Inviting individuals' contributions as part of the discussion means their unique perspective is heard and valued. 
  • Speak up and intervene. If you witness racial bias or discrimination, don’t be silent and be willing to call out others and ask tough questions. Your voice can make a difference.  
  • Take Action. Challenge, promote and celebrate diversity at every opportunity you can as this can create a more inclusive environment for everyone.  

As we bid farewell to Black History Month, let us carry forward the lessons learned and the inspiration gained. I am grateful for everyone’s contributions to making this month as enriching and fulfilling as it can be and look forward to celebrating future events. 

Thank you to Jade, Policy Officer at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, for this blog
November 2023

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