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Black History Month 2023: Saluting our Sisters

Black History Month recognises and celebrates the invaluable contributions of black people to British society, empowering and inspiring future generations. This year the theme is ‘Saluting our Sisters’, honouring the achievements of black women who are often the forgotten heroines and highlighting the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities.

Leader of the council, councillor Peter Mason said: “The enormous contribution of black women to society is too often overlooked. They pour love and care into our communities, so it is past time for us to collectively Salute our Sisters.”

“Black people have often been at the forefront of social justice movements,” added Councillor Polly Knewstub, cabinet member for thriving communities, “fighting against oppression and paving the way for change. However, despite their countless contributions to society, the achievements of black women, are too often overlooked or forgotten.

“This October is a chance to remember and celebrate the past and current contributions of black women.”

Celebrating locally

Ealing’s local libraries are holding events throughout the month which celebrate the contributions of local black women through talks, craft and meeting authors.

Author Preeti Dhillon introduces her new book at Ealing Central Library on 5 October. ‘The Shoulders We Stand On: How black and brown people fought for change in the United Kingdom’ tells the stories of 10 remarkable movements, campaigns and organisations that fought against racism and includes details of struggles in Ealing.

From bestselling author Louise Hare comes a brand new thrilling historical murder mystery, ‘Harlem After Midnight’. Join Louise for an entertaining evening discussing her new book with the background of jazz, mystery and crime on Thursday 12 October at Ealing Central Library (link).

Omari McQueen celebrates love, togetherness and living together in a busy home in his vibrant, fun-filled picture book ‘Fantastic Families’. Taking place over the half-term at Ealing Central Library on 25 October, join Omari for a fun-filled afternoon story time session.

Ealing borough archivist Dr Jonathan Oates leads a talk on black history in the Ealing of the 1970s on Thursday 19 October at Ealing Central Library. These years were often ones of struggle and confrontation but also positive actions, like the emergence of black community groups, especially in Acton, and education with supplementary schooling.

Local councillor Grace Quansah, also known as Akuba, award winning artist and performer and founder of WAPPY, will share her family history and its connections to the Black Star Line pioneer Marcus Garvey at Northfields Community Library on 25 October, 7.30pm.

Steve Martin writes and researches the history of black people in Britain, introduces a spectrum of black women’s lives from over 1,000 years of London’s history. From queens to teachers, from writers to runaways, discover how their experiences and advocacy shaped perceptions of black people which abide to this day at Acton Library on 26 October.

For children

Fun crafts and activities are on offer for children at libraries across Ealing, including:

  • Amazing Black Inventors – join author Joy James and meet 16 inventors and find out about their inventions. A great way for young children to discover the wonderful world of invention and creativity. 27 October at Southall and Northolt libraries.
  • BHM famous portraits – create your own portraits of famous black figures in history. 14 October, Ealing Central Library for ages 4-10.
  • Wheels on the Rosa Park bus – join a colourful bus craft activity session and celebrate bravery. Acton Library, 7 October ages 4-11.
  • Celebrate Black History – have fun creating a chatterbox about black history. Jubilee Gardens Library, 14 October ages 4+
  • Blast off! – celebrate the amazing women who helped get the first man on the moon and make your own rocket. Northolt Leisure Library, 14 October for ages 5+
  • Ndebele House – create your own African traditional house for our Ndebele village. Southall Library, 25 October for ages 4-11.

Full details can be found on the council’s website (link)

Young filmmakers

Come along to ActOne Cinema in Acton on 26 October, 1-4pm and view films made by local young filmmakers.

View clips from ‘Lucky’ and ‘I am she’ and the accompanying workshops which explore the challenges faced by young people today in Ealing.

‘Bando’, a short film made by young people at West London’s Jamal Edwards Delve and Bollo Brook Youth Centre, examines identify and belonging in the cityscape. Four teenage boys, looking for a place to hang out away from the streets, find an abandoned flat. They turn it into a place to call their own, but when one of them tells the older boys about it, their sanctuary is violated.

The viewing of the films will be followed by an opportunity to discuss and feedback on the issues raised with the young people who were involved in the films.

Watch this space for more celebrating local black women.

To find out more about activities happening nationally and across London, visit the Black History Month website.

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