The month has been a chance to honour the achievements of Black people in the UK, while at the same time recognising some unacceptable maternal outcomes for Black women.
This October is Black History Month, an opportunity to celebrate and empower our Black community. Following the tragic death of George Floyd in the US earlier this year (he would have celebrated his 47th birthday on 14th October) as well as the disproportionate number of the Black community dying in the pandemic, this Black History Month was perhaps one of the most important yet.
2020 has held a mirror up to the world and forced many to see the reality of racism
Catherine Ross, Founder Director of Museumand, says: “2020 has held a mirror up to the world and forced many to see the reality of racism in all its guises.”
The month is being marked by a series of events across the UK, from comedy nights to an online talk from Yale alumni Dr. John Ndikum on his reflections as working as a Black doctor on the Covid-19 frontline.
But above all, it was a recognition of the importance of our Black community and culture across the four nations.
Whether it was talking about the achievements of Black trailblazers to looking at our shared British history truthfully, it has been a wonderful opportunity to explore how Black people have shaped us.
Sadly, it has also meant drawing attention to the terrible statistic highlighted in the MBRRACE 2018 report that Black women in the UK are five times more likely to die in childbirth and pregnancy than White women.
The FiveXMore campaign has done much before and during this month to bring awareness to this fact.
Co-founders Tinuke Awe and Clotilde Abe explain: “We are a campaigning organisation committed to changing these statistics and disparities in maternal health outcomes for Black women.” Find out more about the campaign here.
38% of our trained volunteers are Black, Asian or minority ethnic women with a capability to speak 16 languages between them
Shockingly, this year the UKOSS study in May also found that 55% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with coronavirus were from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.
Yet more horrifying statistics show that Black women are eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19, while Asian women are four times more likely. Clearly, this is unacceptable.
The worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests have drawn attention to the systemic racism in our society, and inspired many to stand against it. This month is a chance to educate ourselves about racism and how we can seek to eliminate it from our society.
As writer ljeoma Oluo says: “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And that’s the only way forward.”