By Caroline O'Connor


October is Black History Month. I hope that you have seen this celebrated more than ever before. I think that this increased profile is welcome, and it is absolutely critical to change the dialogue.


You may have also seen some people ask, 'Why do we need a Black History Month?'


One way to approach this is to educate ourselves.  You can find information here from the Black History Month 2020 website. It is useful to help you build a response, if you don’t know how to articulate it when someone asks. Please, if you can, challenge the institutional racism that brought about the need for a Black History Month.


I was surprised and delighted to see the response of a major supermarket, standing up for their celebration of Black History Month, unequivocally and without apology. What a great moment!


Growing up, in my school books, there were mostly white males. People of colour in my history textbooks were most often slaves. The authors whose books we read in English and the scientists we learned about were almost exclusively white, and usually men.


As a little girl, when I imagined a politician, a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, I saw a white man. There wasn’t a place for me in those careers. It was only as I grew older, that I began to dream that I could achieve more. I could be any of those things.


It is important to celebrate Black History, to talk about the achievements of black people, to understand how our collective history was shaped by all people. That way, every child can see themselves doing anything that they can dream.