“My Black History Month is about...”
To celebrate Black History Month 2021 in the UK, we asked Barclays colleagues for one word that sums up what the month means to them. From appreciation to challenge, empowerment to beauty, here are the words they shared – and their thoughts on how they and others will mark this time.
This time of year gives us an opportunity to challenge people’s mindsets about Black people and Black culture. It offers us 31 days to showcase our contributions, from the past to the present day.
Daniel Carter, Vice President, Group Brand and Sponsorship
Throughout October I take time to recognise the work, achievements and struggles of Black people who have come before me, and celebrate their impact – because our experiences are often overlooked. It’s about taking inspiration from the past and using that as motivation to shape a better future for the generations after me. Black History Month is a time for me to reflect on the positive impact I’m making on society, and what I want my own legacy to be.
Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, Co-Chair of the Black Professionals Forum
This month is a time to appreciate Black excellence, our pioneers and ancestors who paved our way, and how Black culture has contributed to and still contributes to cultures across the world. It is a time when I share with my children the importance of celebrating and appreciating their position in today’s society. Black history is British history.
Sabrina Jarrett, Premier Relationship Manager
For me, October is about celebrating the beauty of Black people. As I grow older, I continue to see the beauty of people like me. Whether it be the food we eat, the music we make or the celebrations we have, I continue to see nothing but beauty all around me. Black History Month is a celebration for all of us and I am glad I am part of it!
Afam Sadiku, Head of Business Management
Black History Month is a time to reflect and celebrate the many achievements of the Black community, as well as the challenges we have overcome and continue to face. I reflect on why I am proud to be Black, how I can continue to learn and how I can continue to support my community. I also spend time on various activities with my daughter to ensure she continues to learn about and embrace Black history and culture – and ultimately be confident and proud of the skin she’s in.
Rebecca Gayle, Barclays UK Social Media Manager
During Black History Month we can show the best of what the Black community and Black culture has to offer.
Raphael Dowokpor-James, Regional Business Channel Manager
This is a time when Black people should feel empowered by the strength of our history. We have contributed so much to the world. This is a time to learn more about our collective contributions: reflect on them, learn from them, share them with others and feel empowered by them to continue changing the narrative and making history.
Joshua Alridge, Barclays UK Capital Markets Execution
This is a time that empowers us to look at where we are coming from and gives us the strength to continue moving forward and excel. The Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey once said: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Shonelle Douglas, Sponsorship Events Coordinator
I see Black History Month as an opportunity to celebrate the significant achievements of others, identifying challenges and issues that still need addressing and feeling gratitude for the perseverance and sacrifices of others.
Oliver Gayle, Head of Credit Restructuring Legal
This month is a reminder that representation matters and that creating equality of opportunity is essential. Many people in the workplace look up and around and may not see anyone who looks like them. Breaking down barriers can feel impossible, but we need to pave the way for future generations, so they inherit what so many before them could not. We need to be the change we all need to see.
Harvey Reid, Co-Chair of the Black Professionals Forum
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