Event marks Black History Month

Posted on Tuesday, December 9 2014

Bournemouth and the broader Dorset and Poole African & Caribbean community representatives came together for an event to celebrate Black History Month.

The event programme raised awareness of the history of the struggle of the UK’s black community in gaining proper recognition of its important contribution to the nation, as well as highlighting the reality that in too many cases discrimination still exists, including promotional opportunities in the workplace.

The keynote speaker, Mike Franklin, the UK’s first Independent Police Complaints Commissioner, and Bournemouth Borough Council’s Equality & Diversity Manager, Sam Johnson, highlighted these points to the audience that included the Mayors of Bournemouth and Dorchester, the Chief Executive Officer of Bournemouth Borough Council, Bournemouth business community representatives, officers of Poole Borough Council, Dorset County Council, NHS and representatives from a wide range of the broader international community.

A presentation was made of a film initiative, ‘All Different, All Dorset’, that is a result of collaboration of Bournemouth University’s Equality and Diversity Adviser, Dr James Palfreman-Kay, with the Dorset area BME community.

The event, on 29 October, continued with the announcement of a new Dorset Equality & Diversity Workplace Best Practice Annual awards, initiated by Alan Mercel-Sanca (Dorset Race Equality Council’s Organisation Development & Education Officer) that will highlight organisations and businesses that are striving to support equality and diversity in the workplace.

The awards were given the support of Councillor Lawrence Williams (Bournemouth Borough Council Equality Portfolio Holder) and the first awards ceremony will take place in June 2015.

The last item of the programme featured the presentation of certificates for outstanding achievements to a number of figures from the local Black, African & Caribbean Community – ranging from a GB Team European Games athlete (Tia Leoni Rose Wootten) to the UK’s Number One Black Motivational speaker (Bernadette Raggett). The certificates were presented by Bournemouth University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Vinney, and Tony Williams, Bournemouth Borough Council’s Chief Executive Officer.

There was a diverse range of high quality African & Caribbean cuisine served at the event, produced by BU’s caterers Chartwells who had worked closely over a number of weeks with Mrs Marion Mwenda, a veteran African & Caribbean cuisine chef from the local community, to deliver this special feature of the evening.