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Reinventing support for diversity and inclusion: Black History Month

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Delta Capita strives to be an inclusive and diverse environment in which all employees can thrive regardless of their race, culture or background. We do this by celebrating events that are important to our community and our employees.

October is a special month for me. I was born in October, and it is the only month when I get to experience a plethora of events celebrating people who have excelled in their field and are like me – Black. Welcome to Black History Month.

Becoming a cultural staple

Black History Month started in the US, resulting from the work of Carter G Woodson in promoting Black history from the 1910s until he died in 1950. Woodson was a historian, journalist and author with a passion for the history of the African diaspora, and he became immortalised as the ‘Father of Black History’.

Woodson launched Black History Week in 1926 to highlight the importance of Black history in America. By 1970, it had become so popular it was extended to Black History Month. It cemented its place in US culture in 1976, being observed nationally in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, prominent figures in the abolition of slavery in America.

Black History Month was first observed in the UK in 1987 and has been a staple in the British cultural calendar ever since. At first, the focus was on African American history, but Britain has subsequently moulded it to reflect the contribution of Black people to British history.

How Black History Month is observed

Black History Month aims to promote and celebrate the contributions people of African and Caribbean descent have made to UK society throughout history.

Traditionally, and fittingly, the focus was on educational institutions making Black history part of the national curriculum in primary and secondary schools. However, it is no longer just about history.

Celebrating past and present pioneers in the Black community and their efforts to inspire current and future generations have proved equally valuable. Commercial institutions, including Delta Capita, are finding it increasingly important and beneficial to include it in their social calendar as part of their inclusion and diversity agenda.

Whether you are interested in business, politics or the arts, there will be an event to commemorate leading Black professionals in that field. So Google away, find an event that tickles your interest, and explore for yourself. You will not be disappointed!

Why it matters

The history of Britain and people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain have been intrinsically linked since the 1600s, from the transatlantic slave trade to the Windrush generation that contributed significantly to rebuilding post-war Britain. Today, African and Caribbean countries make up 59% of the Commonwealth, which comprises former territories of the British Empire. These historical events were integral to creating the Britain we live in and call home today.

Although they have played an important role in British history, Black people have traditionally been marginalised, hence the need for times of observation such as Black History Month.

Representation matters. Our imagination is partly triggered by what we see. You cannot be what you cannot envision. It is paramount for the Black community to know that they matter and are valued. By talking about Black history and interacting with successful Black professionals, we can inspire the next generation of Black leaders.

Black History Month at Delta Capita

I am so proud that Delta Capita values diversity and inclusion highly, and events celebrating Black culture are organised throughout the year, not just in October.

Earlier this year, we had events exploring Jamaican and Ghanaian culture through our Cultural Nights series. We are continuing this trend by celebrating Nigerian Independence Day on 27 October.

We have a Black History Month Panel Event on 3 November, in which Black professionals in and beyond DC will discuss their experience of racial adversity in their profession.

Next year, we will launch our Black in Business series to explore business opportunities in Africa and the Caribbean.

Although not solely reserved for issues affecting the Black community, our Let’s Talk About It series has been instrumental in igniting internal discussions about current events affecting under-represented groups.

Support from Delta Capita

At Delta Capita, we value the well-being of our employees. We want staff to feel supported regardless of their race, culture or background.

Are you looking for a new workplace that values diversity and employee well-being? Check out our latest vacancies. Also, find out how Delta Capita are reinventing the workplace through employee-centric projects at our Reinventing Hub.

This article is part of a series about reinventing employee support and inclusion. Other articles in the series focus on South Asian Heritage MonthPrideFather’s DayEid al-FitrneurodiversityRamadan and Easter.