What is Black History Month?
October is Black History Month (BHM), an annual celebration which began in London back in 1987. BHM originally aimed to enable people in the local community to challenge racism and to educate themselves and others about the British history that was not being taught in schools.
Today, BHM has expanded beyond its original Afro-Caribbean focus to celebrate the history of all black people. This year’s theme is ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’, encouraging us all to recognise and learn from the past while firmly focusing on improving the future, working together towards a common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.
BHM 2022 is a month to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of Black people to the UK and around the world, but it’s also a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.
Why is Black History Month important?
BHM is about recognising and celebrating the culture, history and the many positive and significant contributions and achievements that black people have made, both within the UK and across the globe.
Black history is an integral part of British and world history. For black people in the UK, in the quest for inclusion and diversity, and the ongoing pursuit of racial equality in the workplace and worldwide, it is important that past, present and future black excellence is recognised, accepted and appreciated.
Here at OAS, we’re committed to addressing the complex Equality Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) challenges that are contributing to the underrepresentation of particular groups within the engineering industry and the broader Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) workforce. Our ultimate goal is to improve inclusive access to apprenticeships, and then to provide additional support to ensure all apprentices are empowered and supported to complete their programme.
How are we celebrating Black History Month at OAS?
To celebrate this year’s BHM and to support us all take meaningful action, we’re hosting a session with diversity in STEM advocate, Ayo Sokale. She’ll be talking to our learners and colleagues about her engineering journey, the challenges she has faced as a Black woman in STEM, the importance of diversity in STEM, and why Black History Month is so important. A talented Civil Engineer, Ayo is a Project Manager at the Environment Agency and was named on The Independent’s Top 50 Women in Engineering Under 35. Keep your eye on our social media channels to see her in action!