October 1st 2021 marks the beginning of Black History Month, widely regarded as one of the most prominent cultural celebrations of the year. It was first celebrated in the UK in 1987 which marked 150 years since the emancipation of slaves in the Caribbean, and the centenary of the birth of the great Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey. 

Honouring the achievements and contributions made to society by people of Black heritage and their communities, Black History Month is a time to educate and enrich the world with the importance of Black history, to eradicate discrimination and encourage racial equality. 

Inspired by the 2020 Black Lives Matter events, this year’s campaign is called ‘Proud To Be’. We are inviting and encouraging Black and Brown people of all ages to share what they are proud to be. For example, Proud To Be Black, Proud To Be Brown, Proud To Be Black & LGBTQ+, Proud To Be Me.  

We’d love to hear from you. What are you Proud To Be? Let us know by using the ‘Comment’ section at the end of this article. 

"As a black, LGBTQ+ male aged 48, I am proud to be single, independent and successful in my life. I am proud to be with a family when I need them most or when I feel lonely and need someone to talk to. I am proud to be fit, strong and healthy. I am proud to be recovering from my mental illness. I am proud to be working again, when at a time of stress and laziness I was not interested. I am proud to be alive to face each day as it comes. I am proud to be with new friends, as most of my old ones have disappeared. Most of all, I am proud to be with my mum who takes care of me as I do the same to her. There are so many things I am proud to be, the list is endless."

- Cady

How can I celebrate Black History Month?

Feeling inspired to celebrate this Black History Month? There are many ways you can pay tribute, see some of our top picks below: 

1. Join a virtual or face-to-face event

Islington Life have a month long schedule of exciting events to dive into. This is a great opportunity to broaden all of our knowledge and learn something new.

From guided tours of historical walks around the borough to places of significance in Black history, to interviews with prominent Black female MPs shining a light on inequalities at a local and national level, we have it all covered. There are lots of opportunities to explore Black culture, dance, food and exercise from Africa to the Caribbean and beyond. Everyone is welcome, and there is something for everyone. Find out more here.

In Conversation: with Black Police Officers - Thursday 14th October, 6-7.30pm: A Conversation about lived experiences of being black police officers in London. Book your tickets here.

In Conversation: with members of the Black LGBTQ+ Community - Thursday 21st October, 6-7.30pm: Join a panel of Black LGBTQ+ influencers and activists talking about their personal journey’s, experiences and challenges. This event will shed some light on specific issues that affect the Black LGBTQ+ community. Book your tickets here.

Virtual Locomotion: A weekly digital community event taking place in your living room run by the Black Heroes Foundation (BHF). Every Thursday at 11:00am,  join BHF online to learn about the heroes of their foundation, sing, dance and have fun. Providing a safe Virtual space for the shielded, isolated and lonely to meet and share stories, and support each other. A FREE event. Please contact [email protected] for further details or visit their website here.

The Black Heroes Soul Food Café: The Black Heroes Soul Food Café provides a creative space for inclusive artistic expression celebrating Black Heroes and exploring the historical and contemporary presence of Black Britons in the community. These gatherings facilitate cultural enquiry whilst celebrating the significant contributions to humanity by peoples of Africa and the African diaspora. Join them, every Friday evening 19:30 for fun, music, dance, quizzes and singing. For more information, please visit their website here. 

2. Raise Money for Charity

A great way to celebrate is to raise money for a charity that is dedicated to helping people of Black or ethnic minority backgrounds. Hold a bake sale, sponsored bike ride or non-uniform day - the list of possibilities is endless, but all have the moral outcome of raising money for incredible causes. 

Prominent Charities: 

3. Champion Diversity and Help Tackle Discrimination

An important way to celebrate is by becoming an advocate for diversity and inclusion and doing your part to help tackle discrimination and ensure that people of different races are treated equally. Whether that be in your workplace, in your community, or even within your family, or group of friends. Every stand we take, can make a difference. 

For more information, support and resources, visit the Black History Month official website.