This year’s Black History Month provided people supported and working at Lynwood Avenue the chance to have meaningful discussions and learning opportunities about race and discrimination.
Team Leader Liam sought guidance and insight from black members of the support team, and together, the group created a display about the importance of black history.
Liam asked Support Worker Ayo what black history month means to her, and she explained its vital message.
Ayo said: “Black History Month is a time for awareness and reflection, educating people that diversity is about embracing one’s uniqueness and acknowledging that everybody is the same, regardless of their skin. Their skin colour doesn’t make them inferior or less.”
The Lynwood Avenue display focused on the messages of Black History Month, highlighted the achievements of exceptional people of colour and named charities which work to break down barriers and target racism.
Support Worker Blessing had some excellent advice when asked about what the team and the wider Swanton community could do to show allyship and help amplify the voices of black colleagues.
Blessing said: “It’s all about Equality and Diversity; don’t just learn about it, show it. We have to see practical evidence. Respect colour, respect religion, respect what people eat. Swanton cannot do without People Of Colour.”
Another excellent point that Blessing made was that support teams must be aware of the varying needs of the people we support.
Blessing added: “People we support may want to be supported differently if they are people of colour. Staff also need to be aware of discrimination. [When you witness discrimination, challenge it in private as] doing it publicly may harm the people we support.”
One of the people supported at Lynwood has been interested in fundraising, so Liam took the opportunity to do some research with them into charities to promote during Black History Month.
Together, they discovered organisations whose tireless efforts help people of colour.
Liam explained, “We found out about Black Minds Matter, a charity which works to connect black individuals and families with free therapy by black therapists.
“This vital mental health resource offers a valuable space for people to heal and feel comfortable discussing their issues.
“We also looked at UK Black Pride, which works to celebrate and advocate for LGBTQI+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern descent.
“Dear Black Women and Girls” is a fantastic organisation that empowers, educates and promotes positive change for women.
“Finally, as football lovers, the people we support were so interested in hearing about the Show Racism The Red Card, the anti-racism charity working to educate people.
“The role models this charity has established in communities, organisations and sports are truly inspiring, and their work is helping to tackle racism in our society.
“It’s been so interesting to learn about Black History Month and listen to what our black colleagues have to teach us.
“We’ll continue to have these important conversations, look for ways to support people of colour and keep learning.”