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Celebrate Black History Lewisham 365 in October and beyond

October marks Black History Month and, this year, the national theme is Time For Change: Actions Not Words. While it’s important to acknowledge the national campaign, Lewisham Council believes in action all year-round.

Black History Lewisham 365 was launched in 2021 as an ongoing commitment by the Council to offer a platform for Black voices and to understanding Black lived experiences.

Over the past twelve months, this has been delivered through the We Are Lewisham programme which - as the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022 - has championed Black creators and trailblazers.

The momentum continues throughout October, as the Council joins forces with local partners and community groups to offer a fantastic programme of events, exploring Black history and culture. Highlights include:

  • Kandace Chimbiri author of The Story of the Windrush will be hosting children’s reading and art workshops at the Migration Museum on Saturday 8 October.
  • A Caribbean Couturier in Lewisham – an interactive installation which explores the textile legacies of Windrush Generation women who made couture clothes alongside day jobs. It launches with a panel discussion on Thursday 13 October and ends with a fashion show on Thursday 27 October.
  • Dr Julius Garvey, son of legendary human rights activist, Marcus, will host a talk at Goldsmith’s, University of London on Monday 24 October to inspire young leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.

To help facilitate residents’ celebrations, the Council has allocated almost £3.5k in grants funding to 11 community groups. The micro-grants have supported a wide range of Black History Month activities including workshops for senior citizens, a women’s networking event and mini food festival.

Elsewhere, the Council is taking measures to tackle systemic racial inequalities with two ground-breaking reports published in the last year. The findings of the Birmingham and Lewisham African Health Inequalities Review (BLACHIR) and the High Streets census will be used to address discrimination faced by Black residents and entrepreneurs in the healthcare system and in business, respectively.

Cllr Brenda Dacres, Deputy Mayor of Lewisham, said:

“Lewisham is such a diverse borough which has undoubtedly been positively shaped by our Black communities - we’re celebrating those contributions with a fantastic programme of events this October. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to provide some funding to support local community activities too.

“But, as we all know, Black History is more than a month. We launched Black History Lewisham 365 last year as an ongoing commitment to acknowledge the legacies and achievements of Black people in Lewisham. And this has been explored through our London Borough of Culture 2022 programme.

“This year’s Black History Month theme is ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’. We must all look at our thoughts and actions and make a concerted effort to be conscious of our biases. While it’s important we draw on the past, we must also build for the future so that, one day, we’re all judged by the content of our character and not by the colour of our skin.”

Cllr James J Walsh, Cabinet Member for Culture, said:

“‘Action not words’ speaks directly to one of the key themes of our year as London Borough of Culture 2022 – namely honouring Lewisham’s history of activism, in which Black people have always played a significant role. One of our latest projects, Lewisham Legends, honours local activists Sybil Phoenix and Ono Dafeidjaiye with giant artworks in Lewisham Shopping Centre.

“We’ve also actively promoted contributions from Black creatives to We Are Lewisham. Black cultures have had a huge impact on our borough – from music to fashion, from art to dance - so it was essential that they were part of this conversation.

“Black history is part of British history and, here in Lewisham, we give everyone the opportunity to take part and celebrate. We’re celebrating that history and contribution with a fantastic programme of events and activities, in October and beyond. We think there’s something for everyone.”

Find more information about Black History Lewisham 365 and our October events on the website.

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