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Celebrating Achievements of Black People in the UK

Lavern Dinah, from Certitude’s Intercultural Network, talks about Black History Month

On a recent trip into Waterloo station in London, I was struck by the emergence of a tall bronze structure, looming before me as I hurriedly walked towards the exit.

There was something about it, almost calling me to take a closer look. 

On closer inspection, the figures became more familiar.  I recognised the suitcases, the ‘’Sunday best’ style of dress and the family portrayed with their heads lifted with pride and a certain look of determination on their faces as they looked outwards, together.

I soon realised it was a National Windrush Monument acknowledging the bravery and contribution of the first pioneers from the Caribbean known to many as the Windrush generation. The sculpture by Basil Watson was unveiled on 22nd June to mark National Windrush Day.

If I’m honest, I felt a mixture of emotions  whilst looking at the monument. I was very proud of the pioneers and the contribution my family and others have made to the British society. 

It was great to see acknowledgment of their efforts and the many barriers they had to overcome to help me to have the opportunities in my life like working here at Certitude.

My parents have both passed away now.  I see them in this monument and the girl is of course me! I want to make them proud.  I am also determined to help support the next generation to be all they can be with the opportunities and gift they have been blessed with, and continue to soar!

A bit of history

Both of my parents, who were from Jamaica, were a part of the Windrush generation of people arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries. They came to the UK bringing their skills and expertise with hopes of an exciting new beginning to explore and pursue opportunities for their families to flourish. Many pioneers  were responding to the British Government’s call for workers in the transport system, postal service, and health service. At that time Britain was a country devastated by war and needed workers to help restore the post war economy.

Black History Month 2022

The month of October has been marked each year, for over 30 years now in the UK, as Black History Month.  Every year there is a theme, and this year is it is: “Time for Change: Action Not Words.” It seeks to celebrate not just past achievement but the achievements and contributions that Black people make to the UK every day. Such as Black people working in COVID-19 frontline in our hospitals, in cares services, Bus drivers, Security personnel and in the education sector.  There are others like Lewis Hamilton and Marcus Rashford who are household names using their platforms to push for change to tackle inequalities, racism and discrimination.

Celebrating Black History Month!

So, what can we do to get involved? Talk to the people in our communities, the people we support, their families, friends and our colleagues to see if they want to get involved in celebrating.

  • Share experiences. This might be about sharing music or food from our childhood and recipes from different black cultures.
  • Share your stories. Stories of people you admire, past or present, that contribute to British society in our communities, in our homes or at work.
Lavern Dinah, from Certitude’s Intercultural Network, talks about Black History Month