Posted: 23 Oct. 2020 10 min. read

Celebrating Black History Month

October is Black History Month - an annual celebration of the history and contributions of Black people in the UK.​

Following the tragic killing of George Floyd and in the wake of Black Lives Matters movements, much of this year has been spent shedding light on the negative experiences the Black community faces. Through sharing and listening to these upsetting and unacceptable experiences, our firm has been able to design and launch its first ever Black Action Plan – outlining the clear actions that are being taken to improve every aspect of employee experience for our Black colleagues, as well as work with clients and wider society.

The events of this year have sparked a commitment among many individuals and organisations to educate themselves about Black history, heritage and culture, making this Black History Month feel all the more significant. October is an opportunity to build on this momentum and continue to shine a light on the Black community. So, that’s what we’re doing.

Celebrating within our firm and beyond

Our theme for 2020 is Black heroes - past and present - who have contributed to defining Black culture in Britain. Throughout the month, the firm is hosting virtual events and sharing stories which celebrate the breadth and diversity of the Black British experience. From music and sport to activism and literature.

But we’re not only celebrating internally. We’re also activating on our Black Action Plan and making a meaningful impact beyond our firm, in society. We kicked off the month by signing the Change the Race Ratio - alongside our industry peers and clients. The campaign calls for all businesses to commit to transparency, publishing clear targets for greater ethnic diversity, and to create an inclusive culture, increasing racial and ethnic diversity among Board members and senior leadership.

Internal education and understanding

We recognise that achieving real and meaningful cultural change requires all of us to think and act differently - and that starts with education and understanding. That's why a variety of new learning courses including tackling race bias at work and the impact of micro-behaviours have been introduced for all our people. The courses equip our people to understand the nature of modern racism and its influence in the workplace, and to consider the crucial role we all have to play in tackling it.

Beyond this, everyone is encouraged to participate in a variety of other events hosted to mark the celebration – from fun quizzes to hard-hitting panel discussions. Join in by listening to the Green Room podcast as the team hosts David Wallis, who discusses the responsibility he feels being one of our few Black partners, and Race Director of Business in the Community, Sandra Kerr.

Exciting new societal partnerships

Reflecting our Black Action Plan and the Multicultural Network recommendations, we’re excited to announce our new societal partnerships with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and The Black Curriculum. Both are aligned to Deloitte’s purpose - focusing on equality in education and opportunity - and are now part of our goal to impact 5 million futures across North and South Europe by 2030.

Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, a legacy of hope

Founded after the tragic death of Stephen Lawrence, The Trust is dedicated to creating systemic change, removing barriers and discrimination, supporting disadvantaged young people into careers and ensuring businesses can benefit from diverse talent.

We are working with the organisation to amplify their impact as they create a fairer society for all. Specifically, The Trust is looking to develop their digital offering to better serve the young people they support.

Black history is British history with The Black Curriculum

The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise that seeks to embed Black history in the UK education system, beyond Black History Month. Founder Lavinya Stennet was inspired to create the organisation after witnessing first-hand the negative effects of the exclusion of Black pupils and Black British history in British education.

Our support will help The Black Curriculum as they deliver content into schools, as well as provide consultation and training to teachers across the country with the aim of providing a sense of belonging and identity to young people, raising attainment, and improving social cohesion.

In honour of our own celebration of Black British Heroes, take two minutes to learn about Lilian Bader with the help of the Black Curriculum!

Looking beyond the month of October

The celebration of Black history and culture must go beyond the month of October. This year has taught us that if commitment to change is to transcend social media movements and public statements, meaningful and frequent engagement with Black history, culture, experiences and voices, must be the new norm.

Celebrating Black History Month in October is only just the beginning. We look forward to honouring this commitment now and into the future.

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