A collective of organisations has come together to release the following statement about Black History Month

2 October 2020 

Since 1987, Black History Month has been an important annual celebration of the achievements of people of African and Caribbean heritage in the UK. In light of recent events, the need to celebrate and recognise the importance of Black History Month is more necessary than ever. The death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement has refocused attention on the everyday realities faced by Black people in the UK. 

As social housing organisations we have come together to form a cross-sector working group, to mark this year’s Black History Month because these are significant issues that different institutions and sectors need to address. We want to take Black History Month 2020 as a moment to celebrate and recognise Black history in the UK, and a moment to start building for bigger long-lasting action on racial inequality.

Together, as a group, we have had difficult, but necessary, conversations about the role race plays within society and within our organisations. Together, we don’t have all the answers, but we are not afraid to ask the questions.

We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected black people, as well as those from Asian and other minority ethnic communities.

We know that this is, in some part, due to widespread social and economic inequality.

We know that more should be done by those with the power to do so, including social housing organisations.

Black History Month provides an opportunity for us to collectively recognise and appreciate the achievements of Black British people, of their heritage and culture, of their historical role within British communities across the UK. Simultaneously, Black History Month gives us the chance to provide context to present-day issues, such as the impact that colonialism and slavery has had on the lives of Black people.

There are many reasons to write this statement. As a working group of housing associations, supported by HACT and The Centre for Excellence in Community Investment, we want to state our commitment to tackling these issues, celebrate what we as a sector are already doing, and set out our collective commitment to doing more over the coming months. We welcome a collaborative approach on these issues and are excited about the idea of long-term collaborative action on racial inequality. We will be creating spaces and projects to discuss these issues and take forward this work and invite colleagues and organisations across the social housing sector to join us in this work.

Together, we are committed to raising awareness, celebrating and recognising the outstanding contributions that people of African and Caribbean descent have made within communities.

Together, we stand committed to providing opportunities for colleagues to learn about, and to tackle, racial inequality and social injustice.

Together, we will use our collective might to deliver change for the better – for our residents, our colleagues and our communities.

This statement has been endorsed by:

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