October is upon us, and with it – starts the celebration of Black History Month. The entire month is dedicated to creating a space for discussing the immeasurable impact that black people have had on our modern society and the ongoing struggle for racial equality and justice. It’s a month where diversity is front and centre, and we have a chance to reflect on what that means for all of us going forward.
Of course, this isn’t something that should only apply during this month. As we aim to move society forward, we want to see these topics engrain themselves in our social consciousness, influencing how we act as individuals and as organisations. But this month does give us a calling card to focus more seriously on the black experience so we can hear those stories and let them move us to where we want to go.
Some will undoubtedly criticise this focus because they will say “All Lives Matter” or “What about white history month?”. These objections miss the point entirely about what we’re trying to achieve here. The reason that we celebrate black history month is because for as long as we can remember, the black experience has been made to be completely inferior to the white experience. Throughout modern civilization, we’ve seen systemic racism tear apart the fragment of black culture and we’re only now beginning to rebuild things.
Black history month is an opportunity to reflect on the injustices of the past and set our sights on a future where your skin colour does not dictate your future.
Regardless of what race you are, you can be an ally during this month and lend your support to this crucially important cause. Here are some practical ways that you can make your mark:
- Give a platform, where possible, for black people to share their experiences authentically and honestly.
- Listen, without judgment, to what is being said whenever you engage in these conversations.
- Learn about important black figures both on a national scale and a local scale, as they are the role models that so many look towards on a day-to-day basis.
- Focus on creating an inclusive environment that is not merely tolerant of diversity, but actively celebrates it. See it as the strength that it is.
Those are just a few ways that you can take it upon yourself to celebrate black history month this October. Every small action can mean a lot to your colleagues, partners, and stakeholders – especially in our modern context. But then, once you do that – be sure to carry that ethos forward into every other month so we can start to see the systemic change that we all want to see.
Here at Connex, we’re looking forward to using our platform. We have got some great events coming up that are going to talk directly about this. But we hope that it’s not just the events that create conversation. We hope that black history month creates space for honest, candid conversations between friends, colleagues, and partners of all kinds. Not just in the affordable housing sector, but throughout all parts of society.
Once again we have the opportunity to make our voices heard, and we must do so as we architect the future that we want to leave for those who come after us. As we look back into history, we simultaneously look forward to the world we are creating together.
Welcome to black history month. We’re so glad you’ve joined us.