I’ve been bowled over by the speakers…by Karlos, (Accoutre student), and his bravery in front of so many people…
this is one of the biggest Zoom attendee meetings I’ve attended.”
Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council
October 1987 witnessed the start of the first ever black history month, in the United Kingdom. 33 years forward and organisations and schools are still participating in celebrating our African legacy. At Accoutre Centre for Learning we did our celebration a little differently, (like so many organisations during this season), we used the Zoom platform! Prominent and distinguished speakers: Brenda Emmanus, renowned BBC broadcaster and journalist; David Neita, `people’s poet’ and inspirational lawyer and Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Borough Council, were our main speakers. As well as our resident historians, and other leading and pioneering speakers and innovators in their field. From the start we wanted it to be a fun engaging event and that is precisely what people encountered.
It was also splendid having a large number of our supporter’s present, as well as our numerous students and their families. We had well over 100 people in attendance! Dave Neita, launched the event with a profoundly moving poem; we heard a series of historical talks uncovering the `false history of slavery’; speakers spoke on: “My Story,
My Journey, sharing personal accounts, finishing off with a Q&A session and guests danced out to “We are family….”The feedback was overwhelmingly positive: “It was brilliant” “I only wanted to stay for 20 minutes but I stayed for the full 2 hours!” to “What a balanced event.” And the accolades kept on coming. We feel very much that black history is about remembering and celebrating our African legacy; it’s about our young people having a sense of belonging and being seen. It is not about getting incensed and indignant. But teaching the full truth of black British History that it did not begin with slavery or appeared in 1948 with the Windrush.
Our aim is to deliver a broad and balanced history and we did just this in our first ever black history event.In closing, one of the participants cited Mya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, about the need to keep pressing forward and being agents of change and despite oppression and amnesia, Maya incessantly said: “and still I rise.” Do watch the link below and rise with us