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View from 'The Voice': Be inspired by black history

PIONEER: Malcolm X

AS WE reported on this week’s front page, 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK. This landmark is one that we should celebrate.

Black History Month is a time for us to reflect on those that came before us and on whose shoulders we stand - the men and women of the Windrush generation, those who came to this country from West Africa in the 1960s and the dedicated volunteers who worked hard to establish community groups in the 1970s and 80s that did much to stand up to racial prejudice.

They suffered injustices so that they too could experience the same rights and protection under the law as white Britons. These people were pioneers and many of them fought for us in the dark days when discrimination was a daily reality.

As a newspaper The Voice has had the privilege of speaking to several members of the Windrush generation over the years as well as those who were involved in community campaigning. They tell of the injustices and discrimination they experienced such as being faced with signs such as ‘No dogs, no blacks, no Irish’ when searching for accommodation. Or, being told that because a ‘colour bar’ was in operation, there were certain jobs and opportunities that were not open to them despite being more than adequately qualified.

If it were not for the fortitude of these early pioneers we may well not be enjoying many of the rights and freedoms that we do today.

That is why Black History Month is so important. These experiences should not be taken for granted.

These earlier generations fought against great obstacles and barriers to make British society fairer not only for themselves but their children.

When we think of Black History Month we should feel a sense of pride and pay homage to black contributions to British music, art, and education.

So, let’s celebrate black history’s central role in British history. Happy Black History Month!

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