There seems to be a great debate about whether Black History Month is necessary and appropriate or too exclusive and politically über-correct.
I don’t care what people say, Black History Month can definitely be inclusive and I am for everything that involves dancing and cake! Meaning – we had an awesome Black History Fun Day in Barnet last week.
It was my first proper real to plan and co-ordinate on my own and tried to keep it a group organising activity as much as I could including all local providers on board at all stages.
Of course there were a few hiccups on the way, but that was to be expected when a diverse range of local organisations, which usually see themselves as competitors come together to create something completely new for the local area.
But while I might have gained a few grey hairs in the process, I was seriously smitten by the passion and commitment which many organisations showed, willing to step in and save the day if necessary without expecting anything in return Rui of the youth organisation Nutmeg Community even surpised us with a video – which I am having trouble uploading at the moment, so will share later. I certainly think we have laid the foundations for a more unified community development and community engagement approach, as we all got to know and appreciate each other and pulled off an awesome event!
The Community event took place in Grahame Park aiming to offer our local community an inclusive Black History Month celebration which would be fun and (although it was half-term) equally educational for people from all backgrounds.
Visitors were keen to take part in the Black History challenge created by myself on behalf of my employer Barnet Homes, which included word searches, quizzes and puzzles that needed to be completed with the help of our interactive Black history Exhibition. They enjoyed learning about unsung heroes of the past including the first black professional football player and war hero Walther Tull, land girl Amelia King and inspiring personalities of the present such as F1 racer Lewis Hamilton and enjoyed listening to Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger”. One resident found it “really interesting to learn about Black-British history as opposed to the usual focus on international personalities like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela”. Other participants found the challenge “fun”, “a great idea” and “incredibly educational”.
While the celebration of historic and cultural contributions from personalities with BME background were the focal point of the event, there were of course a lot of fun activities to keep all visitors happy. The famous Rolling Base bus was a huge hit, as were the bouncy castle, face painting, ball games (both provided by Stonegrove Estates’ Youth Project) and craft activities (provided by Wingfield Childrens Centre).
The event was a huge success, and everyone could feel the a highly infectious level of community spirit, Our visitors left “buzzing” and thought that the historic accomplishments or the personalities presented on the day will inspire many people, no matter their background, to “go and do great things” (or so they said at least…).
We will plan a similar event for next year so please let me know if you have any ideas or you might even want to join us in the organising process? Would love to hear from you!