Black History Month

Black History Month 2020 is a time for us to come together and champion diversity. Sadly, institutional racism still exists, so it is important for us to continue to educate ourselves about Black history and cultural differences in order to understand the roots of racism and stand against it.

Join us as we recognise just a few of the many incredible people who have led the way for others to follow.

Beverley Knight
Growing up in Wolverhampton, with a Pentecostal upbringing, Beverley continues to be regarded as one of Britain’s greatest soul singers. She is a well-respected ambassador for charities such as Christian Aid, Stop AIDS Campaign and The Terrence Higgins Trust. Committed to social action, she’s travelled extensively to help raise awareness about poverty. She has received several accolades for her work in the music industry; including being, appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen and receiving an Honorary Music degree from Wolverhampton University.

David Lammy
Growing up in Archway, North London, David is renowned for being the first black Briton to ever attend Harvard Law School. A practicing barrister and attorney, at age 27 David became known as the youngest Member of Parliament (MP) in the house until 2003. The much-respected MP for Tottenham, he passionately chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood. David advocates for, and speaks publicly on the importance of fathers, and the need to support them to have active roles in the lives of their children.

John Sentamu
Born in Kampala in Uganda, John Sentamu studied law becoming an advocate of the Supreme Court of Uganda. Arriving in the UK in 1974, hew devoted himself to Anglicanism, studying theology before gaining a doctorate in 1984. He studied for ordination at Ridley hall, Cambridge, and was ordained in 1979. He was consecrated as the area bishop of Stepney in 1996, before becoming the bishop of Birmingham and then the archbishop of York.

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Born in London’s Forest Gate, Chiwetel began acting in school plays at his junior school, Dulwich Prep London. He continued acting at his senior school, Dulwich College and joined the National Youth Theatre. He got into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art but left after his first year after being cast in Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad. In 2013, Chiwetel took on the role of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave; a film which was awarded the Golden Globe award for Best Motion.

Uju Asika
Living in London, Uju is a multiple award-nominated blogger, screenwriter and creative consultant. A mum of 2 young boys, she founded Babes about Town, a city guide for kids and families in London and beyond. Uju is committed to helping both her cultural and wider social community to have an active voice on racism. She is the author of Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World.

Marcus Rashford
Born in Manchester, Marcus began playing football at age five, before joining the Manchester united Academy at the age of seven. A phenomenal player, he scored two goals on both his first-team debut and his Premier League debut against Arsenal just three days later. Scoring on his England debut in May 2016, he became the youngest English player to score in his first international match. In 2020, Marcus worked with FareShare to deliver meals to those no longer getting free school meals, and actively advocated to end child poverty.

Reggie Yates
Growing up in North London, Reggie made his first television appearance in the show Desmond’s at the age of eight. A British actor, television presenter and DJ, over the last five years Reggie has become well-known for documentaries, including the Extreme Series. In 2017, he authored his debut book, Unseen: My Journey, which describes his journey from TV presenter to documentary maker. Reggie recently completed a poignant documentary on the victims of the tragic fire, called Grenfell Towers Hidden Victims.

 

Emeli Sandé
Born in Sunderland and raised in Aberdeenshire, Emeli wrote her first song at the age of 11 for her primary school talent show. By the age of 16, she was offered a record deal with Telstar; however, she turned it down to study neuroscience at the University of Glasgow. A highly creative, soprano artist, she awarded an MBE in 2017 for her contribution to music. In 2019, it was announced that Emeli was appointed as the new chancellor of the University of Sunderland.

Malorie Blackman
A talented and brave British children and young adults' writer, Malorie was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008. Her work is cutting-edge and recently her series Noughts & Crosses was released as a BBC Series. She gives a voice to ethical, racial and wider social issues and helps to flip the narrative on age old issues. Malorie - you challenge us to live bigger and be aware of our own biases. We salute you!

Mary Seacole
Born in 1805 and leaving this earth in 1881, Mary’s legacy so great that in 2004 she was voted the greatest black Briton. Born in Jamaica, while Mary did not have formal British nursing qualifications or training, she was known for her compassion. When the Crimean War broke out, her help was refused; so, she decided to assist by opening the 'British Hotel' supporting British soldiers. Her book, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857), is one of the earliest autobiographies of a mixed-race woman.

Rose Hudson Wilkin
Born in Jamaica, Rose Josephine knew from a young age what she was going to invest her life into, that being Christian ministry. She is a British Anglican bishop, and notably, the very first black female to become a Church of England Bishop. She has had many exciting roles and has been the Bishop of Dover since 2019. Rose carries the honour of being an MBE and QHC an honorary chaplain to the Queen. She speaks out and stands up and we love her for this!

John Boyega
Born in Peckham, London, John’s first acting role was as a leopard in a play while at Oliver Goldsmith Primary School. He rose to fame as Moses in the sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block and later became best known for playing Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films. Taking an active stance against racism, he made a passionate speech at a Black Lives Matters rally in Hyde Park. In the 2020 Powerlist, John was listed in the Top 100 of the most influential people in the UK of African/African-Caribbean descent.

Mike Royal
Co-Chief Executive of Cinnamon Network UK, Mike is also a leader, speaker, activist, social entrepreneur, husband and policy adviser. With a first-class honours’ degree in Urban Planning and a master’s degree in Black Theology from the University of Birmingham, he works closely with local and central government agencies focusing on these issues. Passionate about racial justice and educational exclusion, he is a Non-Executive Director on a number of NGO's working in Birmingham UK and West Africa. Mike is a grass roots person who advocates and supports so many. We salute you Mike, you’re a LEGEND!

Nicola Adams
Much loved and respected West Yorkshire wonder, Nicola is a British retired featherweight boxer who won Gold Medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. She retired with an undefeated record and held the WBO female flyweight title in 2019. Incredibly, she is the first British boxer to successfully defend their Olympic title for 92 years. Her ability to emerge through the domestic violence within her family at a young aged shows her determination to stand up and move into better days.

 

Edward Enninful
Born in Ghana and raised in Ladbroke Grove, London, Edward Enninful OBE was heavily influenced by fashion throughout his teenage years. After a brief stint in modelling at age 16, he moved into fashion and quickly became known for his trademark edgy elegance.  Barely 18 years old, Edward scooped the role of i-D magazine fashion director – a pivotal moment in his career. He now holds the position of Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue and is an inspirational figure to many in the fashion and advertising world.

Janine Dyer
A London girl now living in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Janine – who has been singing since the age of 5 years old – is a local hero. Known for her strong, big soulful, vocal abilities, she is the founder of Sheffield Community Choir, which is known as the “Singspirations”. Janine is married to Ex-Professional Football Player Bruce Dyer, and they have three sons – Josiah, Nathaneal, Zachary - and a daughter, Amira-Grace. Together they lead a Barnsley-based Church called Love Life which impacts the lives of many through prison ministry, gospel music and more.

Dawn Butler
Born in Forest Gate, London, Dawn Petula Butler is a British Labour Party politician who was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2005. Her desire to enter politics came from a deep-rooted commitment to address inequality and strong values imparted from her parents. She served as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities from 2017 to 2020. Dawn has always been a passionate campaigner for young people and she is an Honorary Vice President of the British Youth Council.

Ben Lindsay
Ben is the founder of Power The Fight, a new charity which launched in Jan 2019 to train and empower communities to end youth violence. A trainer and facilitator with more than 19 years of experience, he has successfully developed programmes around knife crime prevention. His first book We Need To Talk About Race – Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches, is a number 1 bestseller. He currently sits on the Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn’s Violence Reduction Unit reference group and on the cross-party Youth Violence Commission.

Noel Clarke
Growing up in Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Noel realised in childhood that he only had one dream – to be an actor. Noel studied Media at the University of North London before taking acting classes at London's Actors Centre. He appeared in over 50 films and tv shows and is renowned for his work as an actor, screen writer, producer and director. He won the Laurence Olivier Award for "Most Promising Newcomer" in 2003 and was awarded a BAFTA Orang Rising Star Award in 2009.

Sadio Mané
Sadio Mané is a Senegalese professional footballer player for Liverpool FC who began his career at the Académie Génération Foot. Known for his philanthropic gestures and generous heart, he dedicates much of his wages to charity, stating he doesn't need luxuries to be happy. He solely funded a hospital and a school back in Senegal in order to give people in the country hope of a better life. He also gives 70 euros per month to all people in a very poor region of Senegal, contributing to their family economy. An incredible footballer and man!

Dame Kelly Holmes
A retired British middle-distance athlete, Dame Kelly has won many honours at European and world level. In 2004, she won double gold in the Athens Olympics in the 800 m and 1500 m, and in 2005 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). She retired from athletics in 2005 and has since been made an honorary Colonel with the Royal Armoured Corps Training Centre. She has become a global motivational speaker, publishing five books: her latest being Running Life. In 2008, she founded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to support young athletes and help young people facing disadvantage across the UK.


Fabrice Muamba
An English retired professional footballer, Fabrice played for Arsenal, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers as a central midfielder. Born in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), he moved to England at the age of 11 and subsequently played for England up to under-21 level. Despite having arrived in Britain aged 11 unable to speak English, Fabrice achieved 10 GCSEs and A-levels in English, French and mathematics. In March 2012, Fabrice suffered a cardiac arrest during a televised FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur, from which he recovered despite his heart having stopped for 78 minutes. Following medical advice, he announced his retirement from professional football in August 2012. Since retirement Fabrice has achieved degree with honours in journalism, worked in media and devoted himself to coaching the next generation at Rochdale. He said, ‘I have much to be thankful for. I thank God that I am alive.’

Craig Pinkney
Growing up in Birmingham, Craig is renowned and respected for his work with young people both locally and across the nation. Working with challenging young people, offenders, victims of gang violence and disengaged youth for 15 years, led to his specialism in criminology. With a degree in Youth & Community Development. Master’s in Criminology and a PhD underway, he is respected as a lecturer, trainer, speaker and mentor. A strategic thinker and advisor to multiple agencies, Craig recently founded Solve: The Centre for Youth Violence.

Diane Abbott
A British politician, Diane has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987. A member of the Labour Party and Labour Party Black Sections, Diane has served as the party's Shadow Home Secretary from 2016 to 2020. The first black woman elected to Parliament; she is the longest-serving black MP in the House of Commons. Diane is an advocate for human rights, civil liberties, women’s rights and speaks up for the people of Hackney.

Bruce Dyer
Born in Ilford, Bruce was football mad from a young age. He started his career in the Watford youth system as a schoolboy in 1990. His hard work paid off! Incredibly, he became the first teenager to be sold for £1 million pounds in 1994 to Crystal Palace as their striker. A committed Christian, he played professionally until 2008, scoring a total of 119 goals throughout his career. He now leads Barnsley Love Life Ministry with his wife, engaging communities, schools and prisons through a range of football, music and faith events.

Alfred Enoch
Born in Westminster, London, Alfred is an English-Brazilian actor who followed in his father’s screen acting footsteps. He is best known for his great work in the Harry Potter film series and in the ABC legal drama television series, How to Get Away with Murder. Alfred is quoted saying "There is a life outside of social media, which I’m very happy to embrace". He advocates for Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation (CSSF), a cultural education charity dedicated to transform the lives of young people across the UK.

Andrez Harriott
An urban artist who found success in the 1990s as part of the British RnB band Damage, Andrez sold over 2 million records and toured the world. A qualified Criminologist and Sociologist, Andrez is committed to working with vulnerable and at-risk young people in schools and custodial institutions. A husband, father, Christian and founder of the Liminality Group, he strongly believes in raising self-esteem and advocates for early intervention. For your contribution to music, your passion for young people and your ability to remain humble across all fields, Andrez – we celebrate you!


Ian Wright
Ian came into professional football relatively late. He had a difficult childhood and claims his teacher Sydney Pigden was his ‘first positive male figure’. Despite trials during his teens, he could not win a professional contract offer, leaving him playing amateur league and feeling disillusioned about football. Facing poverty, Ian spent a short period in prison for not paying his fines, at which time he decided to make sure he did all he could to change his life. Ian signed his first professional contract at age of 21 and went on to have an amazing career. He was awarded an MBE for his services to football.

Claudia Jones
Born in Belmont, Port of Spain, Trinidad in 1915, Claudia Vera Cumberbatch emigrated to New York city with her family when she was nine years old. Even though she was very clever, she was classed as an immigrant which limited her options. She began working in a laundry, while writing for a Harlem journal. Using the fake name ‘Jones’ to protect her identity, she worked as editor-in-chief for two Brixton papers to unify the black community against racial discrimination. Claudia relentlessly championed civil rights, gender equality, and decolonisation through her journalism, community organisation and renowned public speaking.

Stormzy
Born in Croydon, Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., otherwise known as Stormzy, is a British rapper, singer and songwriter. In 2014, he gained attention on the UK underground music scene through his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats before releasing Shut Up, which charted at number 8 in the UK Singles Charts. He won Best Grime Act at the 2014 and 2015 MOBO Awards and his debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer (2017), was the first grime album to reach number 1 in the UK. In 2020, he shared plans to donate £1 million a year for 10 years to charities, organisations and movements that are committed to fight racial inequality, justice reform and black empowerment in the United Kingdom.

Chadwick Boseman
Born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, Chadwick wrote and staged his first play Crossroads in his junior year of High School. Moving to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue his acting career, he became known for his acting skills and his role as T’Challa in Black Panther and Avengers. A symbol of hope and pride for the black community, Chadwick was very humble. Raised a Christian, he was a philanthropic who donated both his time and finances. Chadwick died in 2020 after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016. He never spoke publicly about his diagnosis, instead choosing to radiate charisma and joy. We lift you up Chadwick.

#WakandaForever #BlackPanther  

 

Download our Black History Month PDFs to use in your Groups.

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