Black History Month

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Black History Month

Black History Month runs throughout October and this year’s theme is ‘Proud to Be…’. Traditionally Black History Month (BHM) is an annual celebration of the contribution that Black African and Caribbean communities have made both locally and across the world.  However, this year we are again using it as an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of all people of colour and coming together in unity against racism, prejudice and injustice.

As part of this, staff from across the organisation have shared blogs about their culture, their achievements, why Black History Month is important to them and who inspires them. You can read them below. More will be added throughout the month. 

Natasha, General Manager at Arnold Lodge shares her story

“Hi, I am Natasha. Firstly, a bit about me, I am a Christian, mother, grandmother, partner, aunt, friend, registered mental health nurse and am currently the General Manager of Arnold Lodge. I was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, the home of Carnival and Calypso and I come from a proud West Indian heritage. My favourite things to do at the moment include taking long country and canal walks, reading, cooking and eating :-). I am currently reading ‘Compassionate Leadership’ by Michael West and ‘The Prophets’ by Robert Jones Jr.

“Black history month is important to me because as someone from an African and Caribbean heritage I feel it is important that I not only know my heritage but that I share all the achievements and significant contribution that people from my heritage have made. Growing up my understanding of black history was distorted by what was then the common educative narratives being taught. I feel that I have a responsibility to share the positive narratives about black history to my children and those I come into contact with, as that is one of the ways we can see positive change within our services. It’s also important that I am a positive role model at work as I had little opportunities to see black female leaders who looked like me within healthcare when I first started.

“So far in my career I have worked very hard to achieve the things that I have but can also say that I was supported along the way and the combination has been instrumental in my success. I have been able to study to Masters level and that required sacrifice as whilst my studies were funded via a BAME grant, I needed to complete my studies in my own time. I mention this because at the time I was aggrieved as I had colleagues who were afforded the luxury of time off to study…the take home for me was and still is ‘if I want something enough, I will do what it takes even when it doesn’t feel fair’. I want to encourage others to grasp opportunities, find an ally to support and encourage you and access a coach or mentor to help with your own professional development.

“I have two BAME female role models and these women have been inspirational for a variety of reasons.

“Mary Seacole: As a Caribbean woman she defied the odds and went on to lead healthcare services despite the adversity she faced. Mary persevered and was pioneering, leading change and innovating to make a difference to patients.  I draw strength from her grit and determination as she is a clear example of a woman of colour breaking barriers.

“Maya Angelou: This woman’s poise, grace and activism has been inspirational to me.  She once said ‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude’. This speaks to me because I am naturally reserved and found speaking out challenging.  I often had good ideas but didn’t feel confident to vocalise them.  Being a change agent can be challenging and often requires someone to speak up, Maya inspires me to be the voice and in situations where I can’t inspire  or effect change I challenge myself to look at the situation differently. ‘Phenomenal Woman’ is a great read…take some time to look it up.

“Enjoy Black History Month……….why not commit to learning something new about the culture or inspiring individuals from a black background throughout October.”

 

 

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