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The year in review

ACTIVISM: Students at the University of Michigan stage a ‘die-in’ to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter campaign over the deaths of
numerous black men in America at the hands of police

THE PAST year could be defined as one in which black people across the world stood up and demanded to be heard following years of apathy or private griping over the persistent inequalities that affect every aspect of our lives.

Like in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, some of us stood up in protest. Others, like British director Steve McQueen, chose to let success do the talking with his Oscar-winning film, 12 Years a Slave. Comedian Lenny Henry used diplomacy and dialogue to kickstart a conversation about media diversity that has already led to tangible changes and within the industry.

It was also the year that a new star was born in Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o – now the face of a major beauty brand and a role model for any young woman who felt her dark skin could not be beautiful. Nigeria marked 100 years as a unified nation. The Ebola outbreak became a humanitarian disaster. And African and Caribbean soldiers who fought for Britain were honoured with a memorial to mark the anniversary of the First World War.
We take a look back at some other significant moments in 2014.

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JANUARY


GRIEF: Pamela Duggan with son, Marlon, outside the High Court

A young man named online as Dominic Celaire caused a social media storm when a video of him performing a sex act on a fellow clubber on New Year’s Eve went viral. Across the Atlantic, St Vincent and the Grenadines was left picking up the pieces after heavy rains battered the Caribbean island nation, killing eight. In the UK, the family of Mark Duggan, shot dead by a police marksman, were left devastated when an inquest jury found his killing was lawful. The family of missing grandfather James Fuller, 78, breathed a sigh of relief after the Brixton pensioner, who has dementia, was returned safely following a public campaign that captured the hearts of Londoners.

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FEBRUARY


TRIBUTE: The Voice front page announcing the death of Stuart Hall

Cash-strapped Caribbean nations revealed plans to sue Britain, France and other colonial nations for billions of dollars in compensation over their role in the slave trade and the damaging legacy it has had on the region. Tributes were paid to world-renowned academic, Jamaican-born Stuart Hall – considered the founding father of cultural theory – who passed away and has since been honoured with a building named in his honour at Goldsmiths University. The UK’s oldest living Nigerian man, Pa Gabriel Lemoshe, died a week before his 100th birthday. Protesters gathered in Leicester Square over Choice FM’s rebrand as Capital Xtra and the loss of specialist reggae and soca DJs.

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MARCH


REMEMBERED: Stephen Lawrence

London Live, owned by the Evening Standard, launches and promises to reflect the diversity of the capital with original programming and jobs for young journalists from a range of backgrounds. It commissioned series such as The T-Boy Show and Brothers With No Game which have since been cancelled. Nicholas Jacobs, the man accused of murdering PC Keith Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in 1985, was cleared. Hackney and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott proposes setting up a national think tank focusing on black education at her annual conference London Schools and the Black Child, held in Birmingham for the first time. The Ellison Report which examined police corruption and the role of undercover policing in the investigation into the Stephen Lawrence case is published. It found there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect corruption into the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

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APRIL


SUPPORT: The family of Cherry Groce with Streatham MP Chuka Umunna on the steps of Downing Street

The family of police shooting victim Cherry Groce were provoked into launching a public campaign to overturn a decision denying them legal aid during an inquest into her death. The young mother was left paralysed when she was accidentally shot in 1995, sparking riots, but died in 2011 from complications caused by the original injury. More than 130,000 people signed the petition. The Chancellor of the Exchequer won fans in the Caribbean community when he pledged to reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD) – a tax placed on all flights from the UK – which was having a negative impact on tourism in the region. Young rapper Cashtastic was deported to Jamaica despite his flourishing music career and having lived in the UK for 14 years, from the age of six. Rwanda took a special moment to remember the horrors of its genocide 20 years on and celebrated its progress since then. Almost one million Tutsis were brutally murdered in the civil war.

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MAY


BRING BACK OUR GIRLS: Protesters in Nigeria demanding a return of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls

Special projects correspondent Kurt Barling parted ways with the BBC after they ended his contract due to tightening on spending. More than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, in northeastern Nigeria, prompting global outrage and sparking the #bringbackourgirls campaign. Though some girls managed to escape, many of them are still being held by the Islamist group or have been sold into slavery. Disgraced judge Constance Briscoe, the author of the book Ugly in which she accused her mother of physical abuse, was jailed for perverting the course of justice after it came to light she had lied in her statements to police and provided a false alibi for Vicky Pryce, the ex-wife of MP Chris Huhne, who had asked his wife to take his driving points. The new A-level history curriculum reveals promise for campaigners for more black history in schools. Schools will now teach pupils about the great kingdoms of ancient Africa.

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JUNE


REAL ICON: Jeff Atkinson

One of Birmingham’s most loved characters, lawyer Jeff Atkinson, passed away. The 53-year-old legal eagle, considered the first Rastafarian lawyer in Britain, had devoted himself to the law in order to help bring about social change. GCSE data revealed that black pupils were improving faster than any other ethnic group, with those from African backgrounds achieving well above the national average, but their Caribbean counterparts still below the threshold.

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JULY


PRAISED: The UK’s top student Kenny Imafidon

The Department for Education called time on Kajans, a special catering college in Birmingham amid protest. Author and outspoken social critic, Bonnie Greer, resigned from a blue plaque committee criticising it for being too white and males. Singer Ed Sheeran unwittingly caused controversy when he was named the most influential musician in a list compiled by black music station BBC1XTRA. It divided opinion between those in the industry who believed he deserved the accolade, and those who said it was tantamount to a whitewashing of black culture. The long-awaited new home for the Black Cultural Archives opened in Windrush Square, causing a roadblock. The UK’s top black student was revealed as Kenny Imafidon, became the first person in Britain to sit his A-levels while an inmate at Feltham Young Offenders Institution. He is now the award winning author of two prominent reports into youth and social policy and is a trustee and director of the British Youth Council, which advises Government and other agencies.

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AUGUST


RIOTS: Unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by a US police officer

Piers Morgan ‘broke the internet’ when he was targeted on a Twitter by someone who took offence to his use of the word ‘boom’. Never one to let someone else have the last word, the former CNN anchor responded with a hilarious catchphrase in patois “Mi cum ya fi drink milk, mi no cum yah fi count cow” which means 'mind your business'. It led to Jamaicans calling for him to be awarded honorary citizenship. Riots break out in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the city is placed in a state of emergency.

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SEPTEMBER


PIONEER: Flip Fraser

Law graduate Rachael Owhin starts a crowdfunding campaign to help her tuition fees after being offered a place for a Masters at Oxford. Thanks to a generous benefactor she raised the £10,000 in time for deadline. Flip Fraser, the first ever editor of The Voice, and the co-creator of Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame loses his battle with cancer. Calls are made for a return of the iconic show. Protesters force the shut-down of a ‘racist’ art show, Exhibit B, on display at the Barbican. Tottenham MP David Lammy reveals plans to run for mayor.

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OCTOBER


INAUGURAL: Africa on the Square

A photography exhibition of rarely seen photographs goes on show in east London shedding new light on the lives of African people living in Britain during the Victorian period. The Mayor of London hosts African on the Square in Trafalgar Square for the first time in honour of the city’s significant African population. Margaret Casely-Hayford is named Businessperson of the Year at the inaugural Black British Business Awards. Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather squares up to a passer-by in a Camberwell barbershop after she tells him she has no idea who he is. The verbal sparring match between the woman and world’s highest paid athlete was captured on video and has since been viewed thousands of times.

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NOVEMBER


SHOT DEAD: Schoolgirl Shereka Marsh

A teenage boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is found guilty of shooting his schoolgirl girlfriend Shereka Marsh in the neck. Econonics student Myles Litchmore-Dunbar was found not guilty of killing another British tourist, Tyrell Matthews-Burton, during a fight in the holiday resort of Malia, in Greece. Ofcom finds that Global Radio is not in breach of the Choice FM licensing agreement over its name change and shift in musical policy.

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DECEMBER


WORLD CHAMPION: Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory

Lewis Hamilton storms to victory in Abu Dhabi to claim his second Formula One world title. Old allegations of sexual abuse concerning Bill Cosby resurface, prompting several high-profile women including model Janice Dickinson to go public with claims that the cultural icon also drugged and raped them. Thousands of people protest in Washington DC and cities across the United States over the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. On December 20, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot dead two NYPD officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, before fatally shooting himself in the head. Brinsley, from Baltimore, Maryland, used social media to vent his anger over the killings of Michael and Garner. Before the killings he posted: “They Take 1 of Ours... Let's Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPEricGarner #RIPMike Brown.

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PEOPLE WE LOST IN 2014

Simon De Banya
Komla Dumor
Phillip Avery
Stuart Hall
Maya Angelou

Flip Fraser
John Holt
Sam Mbah
Myles Munroe

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MOST READ STORIES ON VOICE ONLINE THIS YEAR

1. ‘Why I am no longer interested in black men’

2. Website for white men seeking black women launched

3. Body of Ghanaian musician Castro ‘found on beach’

4. Review: Murdered by my boyfriend

5. Outage over ‘ignorant’ Band Aid 30 Ebola lyrics

6. Jamaican cultural theorist Stuart Hall dies, aged 82

7. 15-year-old Shereka Marsh shot dead at Hackney house

8. Breaking: Missing teen Reneisha Brown found safe and well

9. Team of robbers guilty for stabbing vulnerable man to death

10. Appeal launched to find young boy missing from south London

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