24-09-2019

Black History Month

Black History Month (BHM) is held each year in October, to promote the history and contribution that Black communities have made to the UK helping to understand the present through our past.

Our culture has been enriched and our society has been made stronger because of the people who travelled here to build new lives in the UK, as well as the achievements and contributions of their descendants.

The NEU Black History Month  will  have a theme of challenging negative attitudes to migration  and to this end we are asking teachers to help us in the classroom to create a much more positive approach to the issue of migration.

In the UK  the negative conceptualisation of migrants, immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, undocumented people has been reinforced by Brexit, the ‘hostile environment’ policy, and attitudes to Windrush and Grenfell. Racism and hate crime against Black and minority ethnic people  has risen sharply in the last two years. A survey shows 71% of people from ethnic minorities faced discrimination, up from 58%.

Belonging is critical for children and young people to be at their best and ready to learn and for migrant and all teachers to be able to teach with confidence and excellence, however it seems, it is not a choice all are free to make, and is rather  at the whim of  narratives about  outsiders or strangers.  

Black and Minority Ethnic teachers, governors, pupils, parents  will sadly be all too familiar with the seemingly benign questions of where they are from and if they say Manchester or another UK place the follow up will be "I mean where are you really from”. More harmful are the jeers we’ve heard about post Brexit of “why are you still here?” and the physical attacks on many people who are perceived to be migrants – even if they are not. This goes hand in hand and is escalated by anti-Muslim racism, which leaves Muslims in constant fear of being attacked – especially hijab wearing women. 

Racism and general anti migrant hostility is dangerous and a scourge on a civilized, democratic country which otherwise prides itself on fairness and respect for others.

What you can do: 

  1. Download our posters with ideas for classroom use
  2. Wear Red Day on October 18 - organised by Show Racism the Red Card
  3. Visit external useful links below for lesson plans and extra resources

Resources

Please download and use these posters and the ideas for classroom use. The majority have been chosen to reflect migrants to the UK who have made a hugely important contribution to fairness and justice to all.

BHM : Claudia Jones poster

Born in Trinidad in 1915, Claudia Jones spent her life fighting for tolerance and equality, which led her to become a founder of the much-loved Notting Hill Carnival.

BHM : Jayaben Desai poster

Jayaben Desai was born in 1933 in Gujarat, India. She migrated to Tanzania with her husband and joined many other Indians recruited by the British to work on the railways.

BHM : Margaret Busby poster

Margaret became Britain’s first Black woman book publisher - and the youngest - when she co founded a publishing company in 1967, Allison & Busby, with Clive Allison.

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