Black History Month 2020 reflections

2020 has been an extraordinary year, whether it is viewed positively or negatively.  A bombardment of news sensationalising the Covid-19 pandemic, while news affecting the rest of the world and everyday individuals has been scant at minimum, but mainly frozen out of the mainstream media. It seemed the pandemic had taken over the world.

We cannot deny that Covid-19 changed the way we live our lives.  In the midst, creating mass hysteria, fear and apathy.  Social media and television news provided on demand footage of the racial conflict, tension and divide in the US, more negativity.  Almost creating the impression that systemic racism exist only across the Atlantic Ocean and was no longer prevalent in the UK.  Until the backlash and racist tweets about the new Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, which features a black family planning Christmas dinner together went viral.  It was a poignant reminder that racism exists and is rampant in the UK.  Although, those of us who experience structural and everyday racism before, during the height of BLM, and beyond, exhausting as it may be, were not delusional in believing that racism no longer existed in the UK.  On the contrary, we have continued to use our respective platforms to challenge and change the negative racial discourse and promote racial equality and equity. 

BHM 2020 in the UK felt very different to previous years. It may have been a result of the use of virtual platforms that made presenters more available and accessible. Or maybe the guilt produced by the public lynching of a black man by a white police officer in the US, captured and shared via social media, was the catalyst for the significant increase in activities across public and private sectors in the UK, we will never know for sure. 

This year I had a lot to offer.  I had more than personal experience to share. I was able to use my research, concepts and ideas to introduce the audience to a new way of thinking about intersectional identities within the workplace.  This was rewarding and humbling, because my research and the application of intersectionality theory had been privately and publicly criticised.  So, the opportunity to use my research and application of intersectionality theory, organisational psychodynamic theory and autoethnography in a creative way, to bridge the gap between theory and practice was a significant personal achievement.

From the comfort of my home, I presented at several events, facilitated workshops and was interviewed as part of BHM 2020.  My aim in participating in these events and activities was to do more than promote my second book The Silenced Voice: There is Purpose in Pain.  But rather, educate and raise awareness about intersectionality theory and demonstrate how it is more than a theory, but a tool to support Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. 

During my workshops, I encouraged participants/attendees to ‘think feel & do’, using poetry to consider how they could create more inclusive respectful environments that would make their colleagues feel comfortable to be their authentic self at work and create a sense of belonging.

It was fun having the autonomy to demonstrate how history and contemporary issues combined, can help us to be effective in the moment and grow. #justicepeacepoetry

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