Updated: Nov 1, 2020
For Black History Month, inspiring writers and activists from our Black community have been writing excellent opinion pieces for us all. At What Can We Do? we are very excited to share these with you.
Please read, reflect and share and remember that you can do something to help make the world a better place - no matter where you are, who you are or how much time or money you have.
Today's blog was contributed by Keanna Williams, a Future Trainee Lawyer, Creative Tech Entrepreneur and Writer.
How to support and take action this Black History Month and beyond!
Black History Month is always a special month that brings the often unheard and untold stories of Black history, culture and contribution to the forefront and this year in particular has amplified why Black History Month is BLACK and is a necessity.
Whilst the Black Lives Matter movement has existed for many years and the fight against racial injustice is and has been perpetual; the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black people has acted as a catalyst for us to start having the much needed conversation about race and racial injustice, that we have been brushing under the carpet for so long.
The tool of education is one of the greatest and most powerful tools to broaden perspectives and enact change. What better way to increase your knowledge and understanding of the breadth and beauty of the Black community than to immerse yourself in all that Black History Month has to offer.
In the spirit of the colours which represent Black History Month here is a traffic light check-in system as a reminder of how we can all continue to learn about Black History and support the Black community beyond October!
Red for the precious blood,
the wounded yet strong,
past, present and future generations
of the Black community.
Stop, listen and learn!
Take a moment to stop, pause and listen. Listen to the stories, listen to the conversations, listen to the people that are speaking. Stop and take in what has been shared, go to the exhibitions, watch the pieces of content Black creatives have created, discover the archives, read the books, the blogs, the thought pieces - there is so much learning to do.
There has been an abundance of content created this month from Channel 4 Black History Month documentaries which included Mo Gilligan: Black, British and Funny to David Olusoga’s series on Black British History to the present day to Pinterest Black is Gold boards celebrating the plethora of beauty, skill and talent within the Black community - we have been blessed!
Yet, despite the sad reality that there are so many aspects of Black History which remain untold, there are so many phenomenal organisations and individuals uncovering and sharing the parts of history that are still not taught.
Take the time out to discover what is out there, engage in the content and soak up the gems of wisdom shared.
The richness of Black people,
of Black ancestry,
and the Motherland Africa.
Reflect and Discuss!
Black History Month cannot exist in a silo, reflect on your learnings and let your reflection push you to action. Engage in the conversations around historic events that have happened in the past and the historic events that are happening now. If you’re not ready to speak or don’t feel it is your place, then listen to the voices that are and amplify them.
Conversations and discussions are often the foundations of changed and new perspectives, they allow us to connect, to empathise, to understand, to learn, to be challenged - they broaden our horizons and reframe our outlook at times.
Discussion is a powerful force in every season, but particularly during Black History Month, it is a time to incline our ears to the voices of the Black community which have repeatedly been stifled and ignored for too long.
A symbol of hope,
and a symbol of new life,
rooted in the fertility of the Motherland.
Go and Support!
In our current climate you may not be able to physically go out and support, but you can from home. Whether you are parting with your coins or parting with your time, ensure that you are actively supporting!
You can check out the online exhibitions and theatre productions, watch, support and share Black content creators, read books written by Black authors or discover and support Black businesses through Jamii and Black Pound Day.
The next Black Pound Day is 7th November 2020. Black Pound Day is a solution-based approach set up to support the growth of the UK Black economy.
Starting with one day per month, Black Pound Day encourages everyone to spend money with local and online UK Black-owned businesses. Replacing your usual purchases with services and products from Black-owned businesses. The day is also an opportunity to find out how everyone can support Black businesses over the long-term.
You can also support the causes dear the hearts of many in the Black community, sign the petitions, email your MP, follow the hashtags and donate to the organisations doing the work!
Black history, Black culture, the contribution from the Black community to society doesn’t just start and stop in October - it exists every month of the year. If you are wondering how you can continue supporting the Black community and learning about Black history - keep learning, keep listening and keep supporting!
History is birthed every second of the day, so live, learn and support in the present moment too. Read up on End SARS, and stand in solidarity with the Nigerian Community, read up about the displacement and impact of gentrification on Black communities, read up on the roots of Notting Hill Carnival and its importance to the Caribbean community, read up on environmental racism and who climate change impacts the most, read about what is happening in Namibia and Congo and stand again!
Don’t just get lost in the euphoria and the greatness the Black community has to offer; let Black History Month be the space where you enjoy the rhythm but you also stand in solidarity and learn about our blues.
Happy Black History Month.
Contributed by Keanna Williams
Keanna Williams is a Future Trainee Lawyer, Creative Tech Entrepreneur and Writer. She is passionate about education, social change and justice. Keanna’s pursuit to create access for others is evident in her desire to break the glass ceilings and open the locked doors she has come across on her own journey. Whether through law, business or her creative ventures, Keanna is keen to create solutions, content and opportunities that foster impact and influence change.