Black History Month: As a community we must show solidarity
PUBLISHED: 13:30 10 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:27 13 October 2020
Black History Month is important – it is important for me as a Black man but it is also important for each and every one of us, here in Haringey and right across our country.
It is important not because we should only talk about Black history in October, as the nights close in and the jumpers come out; but because it serves as a call to arms for all people in our community. Black Britons continue to make a huge contribution – in the arts, in finance, in our public services and, of course, in elected office.
They – we – follow in the footsteps of those who went before us. People like my late grandfather who left Jamaica for Britain in the early 1940s. He, like so many of the men of his generation, boarded ships from their island home to help the war effort here in Europe. Many of these men, now in a cold and foreign land, received horrific abuse not because of what they did or didn’t do but simply because of who they were. It was racism pure and simple and it remains a stain on us all.
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That is why Black History Month is important. It forces us to remember, in a focused way, the great and good done by black people in our country and across the world; in our time and in days gone by. Haringey, where I have lived my whole life, is blessed with a diverse black community who in different ways contribute to the multicultural and inclusive place we call home. We must always be proud of who we are as a people and the fact that Black people have played a big role in making Haringey the place it is today.
I want people to think about, embrace and explore Black history every day. It is not something that we should only do every October or because its “cool”. We must do it because it is important.
And whilst the fight against inequality still exists and whilst our moral obligation to eradicate structural racism has yet to be successful completed; we must as a community and a people show our solidarity and never walk by on the other side.
The Black community has made a huge mark here in Haringey and it continues to do so; I thank them all for their passion and their commitment. As the first black mayor of Haringey in several years, I wish one and all a very happy Black History Month.
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