A series of events to recognise this year’s Black History Month are set to take place across Richmond borough.

Black History Month takes place every year to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people across the world, where many important figures have been under-regarded or overlooked historically.

This October, Richmond Council has launched a programme of events and activities, including a virtual exhibition, community discussion, podcast series and cultural events.

Some of the events include:

Community Stories Virtual Exhibition

The council is appealing for residents to come forward and help shape a virtual exhibition which will include stories, experiences, photographs and videos.

Stories will explore family histories, traditions, achievements, cultures, and experiences of racism. The exhibition will be shared online and the resulting records will be kept by the Local Studies Library and Archive in order to ensure that our collection is representative of the whole community.

The exhibition will launch online at the end of October. To tell the council your story, you can email Fenna.Maynard@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk or visit https://www.richmond.gov.uk/black_history_month_get_involved

Community Conversation

The council wants to understand the experiences of local Black residents living in the borough to help improve local services in the future and help challenge any prejudices and behaviours that impact the lives of local people.

On October 28 at 5pm, a virtual discussion with Black residents will be held by the council to understand their experiences, how well supported they feel, what matters most to them and what barriers they think exist as a Black resident living or working in the borough. If you would like to attend, register at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/themed-community-conversation-october-2020-tickets-123665295227

Youth Podcast series Xcast

In partnership with young people at Heatham House in Twickenham, Project X will be publishing a podcast series from mid-October on a series of topics ranging from sports to prisons from a BAME perspective, to understand how their ethnicity affected their experience and shaped their success. Future podcasts include Paul Canoville, the first black footballer to play for Chelsea and Rodney P, the godfather of British Rap. To listen to the podcasts, follow @AfC_project_X on Instagram.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Read Euphrasie Mundele-Kilolo's story here

Cultural events

As part of the borough’s Literature Festival, a number of events will be held – including No Word Unspoken (an evening of spoken word with Jolade Olusanya and the Repeat Beat Poet), Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias with Pragya Agarwal and House of Music with Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason. Find out more at: http://www.richmondliterature.com/main-programme.html

Richmond Libraries will celebrate with a series of online children’s story times throughout October and will also host a performance by African-Caribbean percussionist, storyteller and singer extraordinaire, Winston Nzinga, recorded especially for us during a trip to The Gambia. Watch this site.

In addition, watch the Orleans House Gallery website for a series of guest blogs from local black art students at Richmond upon Thames College and Richmond and Hillcroft Community College, as they share their influences, favourite artists and aspirations. Visit: https://www.orleanshousegallery.org/

Libraries Digital Reading Group

Our libraries team are hosting a social media discussion on two books:

• The Colour Purple by Alice Walker – the story focuses on the life of African-American women in USA in the 1930s.

• Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – the book explores the link between gender, class and race.

You don’t even need to visit your library to pick up the books. You can now use Borrowbox, our new eAudio platform which allows hundreds of people to read them at the same time Visit: https://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/libraries/digital_library

If you would like to talk part in the chat, go to @RichmondLibs on Twitter and have your say using the hashtag #RichmondReads

Cllr Michael Wilson, Lead Member for Equalities and Diversity, said:

“It’s important to recognise the diverse cultural make up of our country daily and especially to take time to celebrate our rich heritage during Black History Month.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved in – either by participating in any of the local activities or the many more virtual events happening across the country.”

Internally, the Council will also be recognising Black History Month.

Activities include the launch of a new Black Workers Network, celebrating diversity events with external speakers, online discussions and a ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ event.

The staff Race Equality Network will also be holding a series of events – including an online Hall of Fame to give credit to Black people throughout history.