October marks Black History Month in the UK. Now in its 34th year, Black History Month UK gives everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand Black heritage and culture.
Through events and awareness campaigns, the campaign shines a light on ‘the vast richness of diversity that Black and Brown people bring to the UK’, and share the contributions made by Black people throughout history, as well as personal stories from Black people of all walks of life.
In our latest blog, we look at the importance of Black History Month UK, and how you can get involved!
Share, celebrate and understand
Black History Month recognises the contribution and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage, and encourages people and organisations across the country to learn about, acknowledge and celebrate Black culture and history.
It’s also an opportunity for people to learn more about racism and where Black history has been overlooked. For example, most schools still teach a history curriculum that focuses on the achievements of white figures. It’s important to learn about racism and also challenge negative stereotypes.
Although it’s important to keep the conversation about racism going, Black History Month UK wants this year’s campaign to focus on celebrating being Black or Brown.
They have launched their Proud To Be campaign, which invites people of all ages to share the pride they have in their heritage and culture in their own way and words. People are sharing their stories on social media using the hashtag: #ProudToBe.
There’s a full calendar of events to immerse yourself in, from exhibitions to music shows and readings. Here are some of our top picks – and you can view the full list of events.
Students in London will be spoilt for choice for events and exhibitions. Most notably, on 20th October, the Imperial War Museum is launching an exhibition that will highlight the inspiring stories of Black men and women during Second World War – including Seth Anthony, who in 1942 became the first Black African-born soldier to become an officer in the British army. You can also view contemporary works by Black artists at the ‘Honour, Remember, Inspire’ exhibition at the Zari Gallery, until 29th October. View all of the upcoming events in Greater London.
The capital also prides itself on having a range of tours and exhibitions that encourage people to learn about Black culture and history all year round. For example, there are 12 guided tours by Black History Walks around the capital, all uncovering more than 3,500 years of London's Black history. Learn about the Windrush Stories at the British Library, and, if you’re staying at our Lillian Knowles House student accommodation, we’d recommend checking out the Gilt of Cain sculpture – it’s a 10-minute walk away and marks the abolition of transatlantic slave trade in 1807.
Did you know that the Liverpool Black community is the oldest in Europe? There are a range of events celebrating Black history in Liverpool in October, including a trail around the Museum of Liverpool, and a ‘Close up on Slavery, Abolition and Activism’ on 17th October at the International Slavery Museum.
For our students in Glasgow and Dundee, there’s a host of talks, workshops, exhibitions and concerts to get involved with. Every weekend, CRER will lead a walking tour in Glasgow that examines the city’s connections with tobacco, slavery and the abolition movement. If you fancy a trip to Edinburgh, there are plenty of Black History Walking Tours to get involved in.
If you’re in our Manchester student accommodation, head over to Manchester Central Library, where educational sessions are being held every Wednesday evening in October for adults, for free. HOME Manchester is also celebrating Black History Month with a curated season of events, celebrating Black talent across film, theatre, art, music and comedy. View all of the upcoming Manchester events.
While we don’t have student accommodation in Wales, it’s definitely worth a weekend trip to visit the St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff. This enormous open-air museum will display the stories of Windrush families and their descendants, explaining how they contributed to Welsh communities and culture.
Events in other Sanctuary Student locations:
Supporting equality, diversity and inclusion
Here at Sanctuary Students, we’re the springboard to start your new journey, the place where you’ll make new friends for life – and, most importantly, we’re More Than Just a Room. We’re proud of the diversity in our accommodation, welcoming students from 116 nationalities.
We stand for equality and inclusivity and think it’s really important to create equal opportunities for all our residents and employees, and our 'Our Inclusion for All' strategy sets out how we will protect the rights of our staff and customers.
Our work to embed an inclusive environment for our customers and colleagues is based on an understanding that treating everyone fairly is not about treating everyone the same. It’s about appreciating that each person is an individual and understanding their needs. It's about working in a way that ensures everyone feels respected, valued, included and heard.