It's Black History Month 2021!

October is Black History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the achievements and contributions of Black people in the UK and around the world. Find out about why it’s so important.

Black History Month has been an annual month-long event in the US since 1970 and in the UK since 1987. But last year, the terrible murder of George Floyd and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement has brought it to the public consciousness more than ever before.

'Proud to be'

The theme this year is ‘Proud to be.’ Catherine Ross, editor of Black History Month Magazine, writes in her introduction to the month: “Traditionally, Black History Month in October has quite rightly celebrated key figures and events in Black history.

We want to recognise the achievements and contributions that Black people make to the UK every day

“This year, we want to go beyond that to recognise the achievements and contributions that Black people make to the UK every day – from the Black people working on the Covid-19 frontline in our hospitals, care homes, schools, supermarkets and warehouses, to the children and young people leading the fight for equality in the classroom, to the household names using their platforms to push for change.

“That’s why we’re encouraging people of all ages, from all walks of life, to share their stories. We’re all making Black history, every day and we deserve to share and celebrate our stories.”

Throughout the month, there will be in-person and online events happening across the UK. Check out the website for a wealth of resources, including interviews, videos, poetry, and Black History event highlights.

Organisations driving change

The good news is that there are organisations and groups forming to combat racism and address the disparities in healthcare that Black people experience.

The Black Maternal Health All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), was announced in September and is chaired by Bell Ribeiro Addy. It comprises MPs from across the parties, and has been formed to raise awareness of the issues of racial disparities within maternal healthcare as well as looking for solutions to end them.

Five X More is a grassroots organisation campaigning for change. It was created in response to the shocking statistic from the MBRRACE 2019 report that Black women are five times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth and the six months after than White women.

Although this figure reduced slightly to four times more in the MBRRACE 2020 report, the terrible disparity still remains. Take a look at the Five X More website to find out more about their work.

The Motherhood Group is a collective of mums ‘dedicated to share and support the Black maternal experience through events, workshops, peer support, projects and advocacy.’

During Black Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran from 27 September – 3rd October, they campaigned to raise awareness, highlight disparities, provide resources and break cultural barriers in maternal mental health for Black mothers and birthing people.

More info

Check out the Black History Month website to learn more about the month.

You can also find out about the work of Five X More and The Motherhood Group on their websites and social media platforms.