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Black History Month: a beginning & not an end

Black History Month 2020
“Black history matters to everyone – it’s a crucial part of our nations' story”.

Leading the charge for Black History Month in October was the 10x Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, our internal Black Professionals Group and the HR/Impact Team. The theme for our first ever BHM was to educate, engage and embrace. We took the opportunity to stand back, broaden our perspectives and open our ears.

While this month’s exciting activities, from workshops to cook-a-longs, cemented BHM as part of the 10x calendar, it also emphasised the importance of these conversations going far beyond October.

The impact of COVID-19, the wave of global Black Lives Matter protests, the #EndSars campaign in Nigeria and the #CongoIsBleeding social media hashtag reminds us that Black History is also being created right now. It reminds us of our opportunity to change the future, and of course reflect on how black history has played a critical role in our nation, and in our world, up until now. It’s a ‘forgotten’ history in what often constitutes our school education in the UK, but at 10x, learning is promoted every day. To be encouraged to take time from your day, to learn alongside colleagues, as we have over the month, has offered enrichment to everyone that took part.

The month was peppered with a series of events to capture each part of the theme.

Educate – we had a whistle stop tour of ‘Great Black Britons’, at the top of their game across business, charitable efforts and generally putting most of us to shame with their accolades and accomplishments.

Engage – an interactive workshop helped us explore our unconscious bias and micro-aggressions. To say we learnt the importance of language, is quite the understatement. Words matter. And their use is a skill in itself.

Embrace – a favourite for many – the African and Caribbean cook-a-long. Even those that are fairly challenged in the kitchen could follow this fool-proof live cooking session, which saw us create (and learn about the history and origin of) jerk chicken and jollof rice. It’s certainly in the repertoire from now on.

The month was wrapped up with one final virtual social, and a 10x BHM Quiz of course. It was a great way to celebrate all the hard work that the 10x teams had put into the month’s activities, and for us to reflect on its importance.

The month may have come to a close, but for us at 10x it’s just the beginning.

Happy Black History Month (and beyond)

To continue our celebration and education of Black History, below are a list of resources that we hope will educate, engage and inspire thoughts and conversations:

  • Black History Month - Pre-Colonial History
  • Akala (July 2020) Akala x Black British History - In these two videos (part one and part two) Akala provides an overview of key points of Black British history, key individuals to know about, and some suggested reading
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (July 2009) The Danger of a Single Story - Novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks about the misconceptions and misunderstandings that arise when only one version of someone’s story is told