A powerful woman once said, “Every day you have the power to choose”; I choose to believe that education holds the power to reconstruct the world. Education in this sense is the wealth of knowledge we can acquire from simply listening to others. Our voice is our strongest weapon. Right now, I’m using mine to educate you on where I believe our society currently is and how Black History Month has evolved since 2022 when you last heard from me.
SO, HAVE THINGS CHANGED_
I am a year older, maybe even a year wiser and I believe there’s truly hope for a brighter future. One where we all value one another as people. One day, there will be a Black Prime Minister. One day, there will be proportionality in the races that grace our screens. Although there is unquestionably still room for improvement, I do believe we have come some distance and when I look at the UK, I truly do see potential for the more equal place it can be.
The theme for Black History Month 2023 is ‘Saluting our Sisters’, highlighting the undeniably significant role that Black women have played in moulding our society. Often the invaluable contributions of Black women in British society are undervalued; this year’s theme is setting a precedent that this should no longer be the case.
More inspirational female role models are undertaking roles in parliament, science, technology, and finance than ever before and they are becoming role models for young people of colour all over the country to look up to. Take for instance Malorie Blackman, Mary Seacole, and Dr Samantha Tross, all renowned and appreciated for their work in their respective fields, and now is the time for the entire nation to appreciate them too. There are more Black young adults than ever attending university, and slowly but surely, British society has become much more progressive.
Schools have taken it upon themselves to implement annual culture days, allowing students to proudly bring their incredible cultures to the school. I’ve also seen an increased effort to have equality and diversity committees in a school which means the effort to make education more comfortable for people with a similar ethnicity to myself, is not just yearly.
However, It cannot be ignored that institutional racism is still in many ways substantial. As a modern society, a ‘meritocracy’, we must ask ourselves why it is that many roles of power are still disproportionately white.
SO HAVE I CHANGED_
With every year that passes, my social action skills and my drive for change grow stronger. Following the start of my social action journey, as a National Anti-Bullying Youth Board member for The Diana Award, I have become an I-Will Ambassador; a national movement led by young people who lead the way for social action in the UK. Taking part in these projects reminds me why I keep on doing what I do. On top of that, I’m still a part of Action for Conservation and the Manchester Youth Consortium, recently speaking at the 2023 Sustainability Show. For me, social action didn’t stop after turning 16 or leaving The Diana Award, it’s a journey that has no defined end; social action isn’t just something I do, it’s part of me.
In the same way, Black isn’t just the colour of my skin, it is part of who I am. It’s my background, my upbringing, my culture, and I’m proud of it. There’s no reason why the world should hate it, or for it to be used as a disposable trend. It should be loved and acknowledged just like all other cultures because differences never push humanity apart, hatred does.
I don’t live with that hatred within me today despite historical and experienced events. I am proud of my story, and I am not afraid to shout about it as it holds a wealth of experience about what it is like to be a Black girl in Western society and about what it means to do everything in your power to ensure a brighter future for yourself.
I believe one day there can be a Black prime minister, and more Black people in power because there's people like me still fighting.