As Member of Parliament for Tottenham, I represent one of the most ethnically diverse constituencies in Europe and, as former Minister for Culture, I am particularly pleased to be able to endorse, support and highlight this important annual celebration of heritage, identity and pride.
Black History Month allows us all to participate in Britain’s rich and diverse history, irrespective of ethnicity and allows us to appreciate and recognise the many important and positive contributions made over the years by Black and Minority Ethnic communities. It is wonderful that this annual event across the UK has become such an established part of our cultural calendar to consolidate our sense of national consciousness and to encourage cross-cultural learning.
In order to understand our present, we must be able to appreciate and share our past. Now, more than ever, Black History Month is integral to ensuring that our great nation is able to partake in the commemoration of one of the many things that makes Great Britain great; our ability to understand and remember that we have more in common than that which divides us, and our capacity to accept and pay tribute to the wealth of cultures which have come to be encapsulated in that word; British.
In years past, I have paid homage to the tireless work of outstanding public figures such as Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE and Martin Luther King in their quests for seeking social justice. This October we should be paying special tribute the late Nelson Mandela, whose passing represents the tragic loss of one of the greatest statesmen to have ever lived. A man who embodied the anti-apartheid movement, his wisdom and compassion will continue to inspire generations, in years to come.
Let us therefore embrace Black History Month once again, in our homes, schools, communities and places of work. I would like to congratulate all those who are organising and participating in the wonderful educational events taking place this October, and beyond.
With warmest wishes for October,
Member of Parliament for Tottenham