Tag: BME

10 facts for 10 years of Black History Month in Wales

Black History Month Wales is celebrating its 10th year anniversary this year. First celebrated in the UK in 1987, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of Black History Month (BHM) in the UK.

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Every October throughout the UK, BHM celebrates the achievements and contributions of Black people to the development of British society; technology; the economy; the arts and culture. Read more about the history of BHM.

In celebration of 10 years, here are 10 facts you might not have been aware of:

1. In 1987 BHM was only celebrated in London, it is now a UK wide event with over 6,000 events being celebrated across the UK every October. Canada and America celebrate Black History Month in February.

2. The following were invented by Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people:

Pencil sharpener, trolley car power system, first traffic light, sweeper truck, dustpan, automatic elevator door, first clothes dryer, fire escape ladder, fire extinguisher, carbon filament for the lightbulb, blood plasma bag, ironing board, hair brush, straightening comb, tricycle and more.

3. Betty Campbell  became Wales’s first black head teacher in the 1970s, with her post at Mount Stuart Primary School in Butetown, Cardiff.

4. Wales has one of the UK’s oldest multi-ethnic communities in Cardiff, in the area of Tiger Bay. Sailors and workers from over 50 countries settled there.

5. Leonora Brito was born in Cardiff, raised in and influenced by the multicultural community of Tiger Bay she recreated the society’s values through her writing. Her writing provided a unique insight into Afro-Caribbean Welsh society, largely unrepresented in Welsh writing until her work appeared. Her story ‘Dat’s Love’ won her the 1991 Rhys Davies Short Story Competition. She died in 2007.

6. Mohammed Asghar (Oscar) AM became Wales’s first Muslim councillor, representing the Victoria ward on Newport City Council in 2004. He became the first ethnic minority and Muslim member of the Assembly when he was elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 2007.

7. The 2011 census reported there were 18,276 Welsh African people, amounting to 0.6% of the Welsh population.

8. In 2008 Vaughan Gething AM became the youngest ever President of the TUC in Wales, also becoming the first black person in the role.

9. Eddie Parris, who was born at Pwllmeyric near Chepstow, became the first black footballer to play for Wales, playing his one and only international against Northern Ireland in Belfast in 1931 – nearly half a century before England’s first black player was awarded an international cap.

10. Judge Ray Singh, CBE, Chair of race Council Cymru is a retired District Judge and the first ethnic minority judge on the Welsh bench.

For further information on the Black History Month celebrations around Wales visit the Black History Month website.

Black History Month: This October  marks a special anniversary

First celebrated in the UK in 1987, this year marks the 30th anniversary of BHM in the UK. Black History Month Wales is also celebrating its 10th year anniversary.

Abi Lasebikan, Co-Chair of our Race Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage workplace equality network, takes us through the history of BHM…

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Every October throughout the UK, Black History Month (BHM) celebrates the achievements and contributions of Black people to: the development of British society; technology; the economy; the arts and culture.

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” – Marcus Garvey

History

The first ever BHM event was held in London in 1987. Akyaaba Addai Sebbo, coordinator of Special Projects for the Greater London Council (GLC) at the time, is acknowledged as the originator of BHM in the UK and creating a collaboration to get it under way.

A colleague of mine, a woman, came to work one morning, looking very downcast and not herself. I asked her what the matter was, and she confided to me that the previous night when she was putting her son Marcus to bed he asked her, “Mum, why can’t I be white?”

The mother was taken aback. She said that she was so shocked that she didn’t know how to respond to her son. The boy that had been named after Marcus Garvey had asked why he couldn’t be white!

– Akyaaba Addai Sebbo

Black_History_Month_1987_002

It can arguably be said that the catalyst for BHM started eighteen months before the GLC was abolished in 1986. What followed in the months leading up to the GLC’s abolition was a concerted effort to find ways of carrying on the progressive equalities work of the GLC. The London Strategic Policy Unit (LSPU) made up of 15 Local Authorities, formed the body that took over the radical bits of the GLC after its abolition.

 

Linda Bellos, the then leader of Lambeth Council, remembers Ansell Wong, the then Head of the Ethnic Minority Unit, approaching her with the idea of initiating Black History Month in the UK.

Continue reading “Black History Month: This October  marks a special anniversary”

Betty Campbell MBE addresses Assembly staff as part of Diversity and Inclusion week

The National Assembly for Wales is committed to promoting and supporting an inclusive workplace, where difference is celebrated and valued.

The Diversity and Inclusion team here at the Assembly regularly organises events in order to raise awareness and generate discussion around issues, and Diversity and Inclusion week is something we participate in every year.

Betty Campbell photo
Picture of Betty Campbell

On 8 July 2016 Betty Campbell (MBE) was invited to speak to staff at the Assembly by its INSPIRE Women’s network, and REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) Black Minority Ethnic network.

The networks invited Betty to the Assembly as part of a joint network initiative, so they could hear her inspirational story in her own words. Despite being told as a young girl that achieving her dream of becoming a teacher “would be insurmountable”, she wasn’t deterred and overcame many barriers to become the first black head teacher in Wales during the 1970s.

She remains a respected member of the Butetown community, where she held the position of Head at Mount Stuart Primary school, and is now recognised as an academic and important authority on education.

Betty is truly a role model for both black people and women, which is why both our INSPIRE and REACH staff networks felt privileged to have the chance to hear her story in person. The opportunity to ask Betty questions was particularly popular, in fact we had so many questions that we ran out of time for Betty to answer them.

We were lucky enough to record an interview with Betty during her visit to the Assembly, so you can share her story too.

Here is her story, in her own words: what inspired her; what helped her achieve her goals; her inspiration to others facing similar barriers and her advice to people facing their own obstacles.

Further information

Diversity and Inclusion Week – Workplace Equality Networks By Abi Lasebikan, Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Network Coordinator

By Abi Lasebikan, Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Network Coordinator

What are Workplace Equality Networks (WENs)?

As Network Coordinator I see the WENs as a place for people who identify with a protected characteristic group and/or have an interest in matters relating to a particular diversity strand (i.e. gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, religion/belief, age, pregnancy/maternity, sex, marriage/civil partnership and disability), to come together to:

  • give and receive pastoral care;
  • share information relating to equality; promote equality issues related to their group;
  • access learning opportunities to build skills that will help individuals develop personally as well as in their career, and
  • act as critical agents for change within the organisation.

Who are the WENs open to?

The networks are open to all Assembly Members, AMSS, Commission staff and employees of our on-site contractors to join as either members or as allies, as they recognise that anyone, not only those directly affected, can have an interest in a particular equality issue. This interest can exist for many reasons, including because of a connection to someone who is affected e.g. a child, spouse or relative or because of the belief it’s ‘the right thing’. Allies are welcome because to achieve real Diversity and Inclusion requires a collective effort involving everyone.

What are the benefits of the WENs for the individual?

For an individual the networks can:

  • Provide informal peer support and advice.
  • Offer a platform for discussing issues affecting members of the networks.
  • Enhance career development and progression for staff, through various programmes, including mentoring opportunities.
  • Present networking opportunities.
  • Give members the chance to identify and advise the Assembly Commission on the issues which affect staff, through impact assessment of policies.

What are the benefits of the WENs for the organisation?

Because of their access and insight these networks can help us to:

  • Understand the value in managing and harnessing the potential of an increasingly diverse workforce.
  • Recruit and retain the most talented people.
  • Provide the best service to stakeholders.
  • Make a positive difference to the working culture of the Assembly.

They do this because the collective intelligence of the WENs:

  • Make it possible for us to understand what it is like to work in that environment from the perspective of the members.
  • Enable us to understand our diverse service users.
  • Serve as effective consultative and advisory bodies on diversity related matters.

The networks input leads to better policies and procedures which means happier employees who can be themselves, resulting in an organisation that performs better and is therefore better able to attract and retain top talent.

The Assembly recognises that the networks are instrumental to the organisation in its aim to achieve a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment for all. It supports the networks and would encourage all Assembly Members, Assembly Member Support Staff (AMSS), Commission staff and employees of our on-site contractors to support and enable their staff to participate in and engage with network activities.

Our current networks are:

EMBRACE LOGOEMBRACE – our disability network. It is open to disabled people, those who support disabled people and people with an interest in disability equality. Within EMBRACE are subsidiary dyslexia and chronic pain groups. Chaired by Abi Phillips

 

INSPIRE logoINSPIRE – our women’s network. It’s open to both men and women. Co-chaired by Sarah Crosbie and Janette Iliffe

 

 

OUT NAW logo OUT-NAW – our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and    Transgender (LGBT) network. It is a closed group for LGBT people, it is open to LGBT people as members and people with an interest in LGBT equality as allies. Co-chaired by Craig Stephenson  and  Jayelle Robinson-Larkin

TEULU logo

TEULU – our Working Parent and Carer network, is currently a virtual network that operates mainly online.  New network members and network allies are always welcome. Co-chaired by Holly Pembridge and Joel Steed

REACH logo

REACH – The Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage network is our Black Minority Ethnic (BME) network. It is open to BME people as members and people who support race equality as allies. Co-chaired by Abi Lasebikan and Raz Roap

 

The Networks have contributed to and raised the profile of the organisation in a variety of ways. They have:

  • Input into many impact assessment of policies and projects, such as the Accessible Car Parking policy, Human Resources Priority Postings policy, EFM refurbishments projects, etc.
  • Attended events, like: Pride and Sparkle, Stonewall Cymru’s Workplace Equality Index Awards, All Wales Annual Race Equality Conference, Mela, etc.
  • Participated in community incentives, like collecting for the Cardiff Foodbank.
  • Produced a range of blogs, factsheets and guidance on a variety of topics, such as: Ramadan, Cultural Diversity, Invisible Disabilities, Bisexual Awareness, Mental Health, etc.
  • Worked closely with other public sector organisations, such as Gwent and South Wales Police, Welsh Government, Cardiff University, to promote diversity and inclusion.

That is just a flavour of the impressive achievements of the networks. Further information on the networks can be found at: http://members/networks.

Championing the WENs

A senior champion is someone who openly supports the WENs at the highest level of the organisation. They are vocal about the achievements of the network and how it benefits the organisation as well as willing to lend the weight of their leadership to the network. I am pleased to say that both Dave Tosh and Craig Stephenson are not only champions for BME and LGBT issues respectively but have agreed to champion equality issues as a whole on the Management Board.

“As the BME Champion I can act as a voice, at Director level, and work with the network to help support our BME staff to address some of the issues affecting them”. Dave Tosh, Director of Resources and BME Champion

The Champions can also be a beacon to others that the organisation is truly an inclusive organisation that recognises talent, irrespective of whether the person belongs to a protected characteristic group.

“It’s very important that there are visible LGBT people at all levels within the organisation, and also that people see that being from a minority group hasn’t hindered peoples’ ability to reach more senior levels. Personally, I think that if you have reached a position which gives you visibility, and if you can inspire someone else, if you can lead by example, you should.” Craig Stephenson

BME Women pioneers: BME women who have paved the way for others to follow

bhmOctober is Black History Month (BHM), it is the time of year when the culture, history and achievements of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities is recognised and celebrated.

The contributions that BME people have made to the development of British society, technology, economy and culture has been made possible by those brave men and women who paved the way. They were the beacon for other BME people, role models and examples of what was achievable.

The Black History Association Wales, in partnership with the African Community Centre, Wales Millennium Centre, Unison Cymru, Radio Cardiff and The Prince’s Trust Cymru, have announce this year’s theme as ‘Great Black Women, Past & Present’. In line with that theme here are 12 pioneering BME women who have paved the way for others to follow:

1.  Mary Prince: The first Black woman to write and publish an autobiography ‘The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave’, an account of the horrors of life on the plantations enslavement, published in Britain c.1831. Mary Prince was also the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament.

2. Una Marson:The first Black female broadcaster at the BBC from 1939  to 1946.

3. Elisabeth Welch: One of the first Black people to have her own BBC radio series in 1935, ‘Soft Lights and Sweet Music’, which made her a household name in Britain.

4. Sislin Fay Allen: Britain’s first black WPC, joining the Metropolitan  Police in 1968.

5. Lilian Bader: One of the first women in the RAF to qualify as an  instrument repairer, after joining the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. Visit  the Ministry Of Defense’s blog to find out more about BME people in the armed forces

6. Moira Stuart, OBE: the first female newsreader of African-Caribbean  heritage on British television.

7. Diane Abbott, MP: The first black woman Member of Parliament when she was elected to the House of Commons in the 1987 general election.

8. Betty Campbell: Who in the 1970s became the nation’s first black head teacher with her post at Mount Stuart Primary in Butetown, Cardiff.

9. and 10. Baroness Valerie Amos: The first black woman cabinet minister and joint first black woman peer with Baroness  Patricia Scotland.

11. Dame Jocelyn Barrow: The first black woman Governor of the BBC.

12. Claudia Jones:  Founder of Britain’s first black weekly newspaper “The  Westindian Gazette”, also known as the mother of the Notting Hill  Carnival.

October is Black History Month (BHM): BME Heroes

To celebrate Black History Month the National Assembly for Wales Black Minority Ethnic (BME) staff Network would like to share the people that have been their role models and who have inspired them – their ‘BME Heroes’.

Muhammad Ali – A former professional boxer

Image of Muhammad Ali
Image in the public domain by Ira Rosenberg

 

“A devout Muslim, who never gave up despite the challenges he faced as a black man, especially in the 1960’s and 1970’s.   He has encouraged people to respect and better understand one another and to strive to be the best that they can. He epitomises how sports can be used to change social values.”

Stephen K. Amos – A stand-up comedian

Image of Stephen K Amos
Image taken at 2005 Edinburgh Fringe. Released to the public domain

“For his work with raising the profile of homosexuality, in his stand up performances, like the revealing solo show ‘All of Me’, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in which he publicly acknowledged his own homosexuality to his audience for the first time.”

Tracy Chapman – A singer-songwriter

Image by Hans Hillewaert under Creative Commons License
Image by Hans Hillewaert under Creative Commons License

“Lyrically her songs, such as ‘Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution’ and ‘Fast Car’, highlight the importance of speaking up against injustice and bring awareness to the struggles of poverty.”

Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa

Image in public domain on connect.123.com, from article by Katie Arango
Image in public domain on connect.123.com, from article by Katie Arango

“A humble leader who preached peace and forgave the people who put him into isolation for 27 years, and for leading all South Africans though a spirit of forgiveness and harmony. If I could be half the person he is I would be the happiest person.”

Pranab Mukherjee – Current President of India

Image in the public domain
Image in the public domain

“Because of the work he has done with poor people. He is an ambassador for the poor.”

Barack Obama – Current President of the United States

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

“As a BME person who has risen to arguably one of the most powerful positions in the world, you see that things are changing and that gives you hope. He is a great icon as every time you see him, you see a black man who is articulate and conducts himself well, even in the face of provocation.”

Michelle Obama – First Lady of the United State, lawyer, writer, big charity worker

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
Image in the public domain. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

“She is an incredible lady and fabulous human being, for many reasons, including her commitment in the promotion of a healthy nutrition and the right to women’s education.”

Oprah Winfrey – Media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist

licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License. Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License Portions not contributed by visitors are Copyright 2015 Tangient LLC
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License. Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License
Portions not contributed by visitors are Copyright 2015 Tangient LLC

“She is an example of triumph over diversity. Not only is she a real rags to riches story, but on reaching the top of her field she has used her position to make a difference, using her influence and success to inspire, educate and empower people of all walks of life all over the world.”

Stevie Wonder – Musician

licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil license.
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil license.

“A child prodigy. Naturally gifted and really talented, he taught himself to begin playing instruments at the age 4. He overcome difficulties and adversity to rise to the top of his profession and remained relevant and at the top of his game all of his working life.”

Malala Yousafzai – Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate

Image by Russell Watkins/Department for International Development. Available under the terms of Crown Copyright/Open Government License/Creative Commons
Image by Russell Watkins/Department for International Development. Available under the terms of Crown Copyright/Open Government License/Creative Commons

“A strong modern role model. After her traumatic experience, her courage and determination to make and seek change for women in all parts of the world – so that they can have an education- really stands out in my mind. She’s an incredibly brave woman with an incredible story. At only 18, she has already achieved so much and is set to accomplish so much more with her endeavours.”

Leymah Gbowee – Liberian anti-war and women’s rights leader, joint Noble Peace Prize winner in 2011

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

“An amazing individual with a colourful life and a truly inspiring person who has shown that with conviction and determination, anything can happen!”

If you are interested in finding out more about our BME staff network contact Raz Roap the Chair of the BME staff Network.

Plan to visit the Assembly? Check out our website or contact us by phone, on 0300 200 6565, or email us at contact@assembly.wales.

To find out more about the events taking place across Wales visit the Black History Month Wales website.

bhmBHM1

October is Black History Month

bhmOctober is Black History Month.

First celebrated in the UK in 1987, Black History Month (BHM) continues to be marked annually every October.

It is the time of year when the culture, history and achievements of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities take centre stage.

Throughout October events are taking place, nationally, to recognise and celebrate the achievements and contributions that BME people have made to the development of British society, technology, economy and arts & culture. To find out more about the events taking place across Wales visit the BHM Wales website.

To celebrate BHM the National Assembly for Wales BME staff Network have organised a range of activities and articles that will happen throughout October to raise awareness and foster an understanding of Black history.

During October our BME staff Network will be promoting their ‘BME Heroes’, the people that have been their role models and who have inspired them. Keep an eye on our blog throughout October to find out more.

We will also have a stall at the BHM Wales showcase event, at the Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday 24 October, a highlight of Black History Month. Why not come along and visit our stall, we would be very pleased to see you. The free day-long music and dance showcase will be celebrating African Diaspora culture and its contributions to Wales and beyond with music, song, dance, great food and great company.

BHM1If you are interested in finding out more about our BME staff network contact Raz Roap the Chair of the BME staff Network.