06 OCT 2020
5 MIN READ
Black History Month has always been a time to celebrate the rich cultures and achievements of black people across the world.
Over the last few years, MediaCom UK has arranged some incredible events to celebrate Black History Month. Last year we talked about diverse audiences, intersectionality, and showing off your culture. And in 2018, alongside talks on creating change in the industry, MediaCommers were serenaded by The Gospel Collective Choir on their way into the office. MediaCom’s commitment to being the most diverse and inclusive agency has always been reflected in the variety and quality of events during the month of October.
But 2020 has been an incredibly tough year for many reasons – none of us have been able to escape the news about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other tragic events that have happened in the USA. It’s important that we are aware of these events and understand the gravity of what is happening across America.
The UK is a strange place – in school, the small amount of black history we do learn tends to be about the USA. We know about Rosa Parks but not about the Bristol Bus Boycott; about Martin Luther King but not Darcus Howe. We aren’t taught about the complicated history of black people in the UK, and it becomes very easy for British people to feel that there are no real issues here. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 1753 people have died in police custody or following police contact in England & Wales since 1990, and when you look at the faces of these victims, an obvious pattern emerges. Black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, and whilst the causes are still unknown, ask any trainee doctor whether they see black women represented during their education and the answer is likely to be no. Covid-19 death rates, stop and search laws, abuse suffered by black sports stars – the list is immense and the UK is not innocent when it comes to appalling racism.
So, this Black History Month at MediaCom, we will be running a series of virtual events for our people, sharing helpful information about Black Britain, our history and our future. We will explore black creativity, looking at the incredible contributions of black people to the arts within the UK. We’ll look at our heritage and take you on a journey through some of the significant moments that led us to where we are today. Finally, we will delve into sports and technology and look at some of the achievements that Britain owes to the black community.
This year’s BHM will be a very different one. We won’t have the luxury of bringing people at MediaCom together physically, serving incredible African and Caribbean food, or having a party in person. But we do have an opportunity to bring even more people together online and have some engaging discussions, learn together and find ways to continue the discussion throughout October and beyond.
The Roots team have put in an enormous amount of work behind the scenes to make Black History Month happen, and this year we have been supported by a fabulous team of Roots Advocates. As well as create our own events, we have curated a selection of events for you to participate in from other agencies within the GroupM network. We look forward to you joining us throughout the month, and we hope you enjoy what we have in store.