Black History Month: Honouring Achievements

Celebrating Black History Month with Speakers for Schools

Portrait of Andre Hunter

Black History Month is almost over, and we wanted to take a moment to share with you how Speakers for Schools is celebrating black excellence this year and signpost you to some useful resources you may want to explore.

Each year, a different theme is selected for Black History Month. This year’s theme is celebrating our sisters, so we invite you to join us in acknowledging and celebrating the outstanding achievements of Black Women!

Considerations of Identity and Race 

Black History Month is an important reminder that diversity should be celebrated. It serves as a powerful tool for understanding our past, inspiring the present, and creating a bright outlook for our future.

We want this month to highlight and continue important conversations with Speakers for Schools both internally and externally in supporting and embracing our black colleagues and those of ethnic minorities, allowing people to feel comfortable being their authentic selves in the workplace.

These considerations are also acknowledged in our efforts to introduce young people into the workplace, especially through inspirational speakers and work experience, tying considerations of identity and race.

Visibility within Senior Leadership

All organisations have a duty to diversify their workforces, especially at a senior level. This is not just to tick boxes, but to have a rich ecosystem of people with different views and experiences. After all, how can a successful organisation create the best product or services if it hasn’t considered the range of wants and needs of its audiences?

But simply diversifying those hired at a senior level is not enough. Diverse staff at all levels who are supported and encouraged to progress into management, senior and executive roles is the key to a diversified pipeline of senior and executive leaders. And those diverse leaders are key to inspiring generations to come.

Check out these trailblazers 

Earlier this month, we were lucky enough to be joined by renowned entrepreneur Levi Roots, inspiring master mathematician Professor Nira Chamberlain and media mogul Karen Blackett OBE who delivered special sessions to schools and colleges across the UK to mark the 75th anniversary of Windrush and Black History Month.

We also welcomed the business powerhouse Brandie Deignan, creative TV genius Patrick Younge, senior business leader and advisor Gisela Abbam FRSA and MBA, and experienced lawyer, businesswoman and TV presenter Denise Nurse who all shared aspects of their own inspiring stories with young people who tuned into their broadcasts. All these sessions were recorded and are still available online to watch – simply click the name to be taken straight to the replay you’re interested in.

Find out which black authors we’ve featured

Our National Teen Book Club team have been actively showcasing black talent on a regular basis since the launch of the programme in 2021. In the last couple of years, they have amplified a vast array of black voices by including featured reads from both new and highly celebrated black authors including Angie Thomas (author of The Hate U Give), Patrice Lawrence (author of Eight Pieces of Silver), Rene Germain (author of Black and Great: The Essential Workplace Toolkit), Natasha Bowen (author of Skin of the Sea) and highlighting the work of spoken word artist and educator Peju Abuchi.

You can find out more about these featured reads and the authors by registering for our National Teen Book Club where you can also shortly sign up for upcoming sessions on featured reads by Oluseyitan Ojedokun (author of The intersectionality of being Black and Neurodiverse) and Brittany. N. Williams (actress and author of That Self-Same Metal).

Guess which famous black actor went back to school recently?  

We recently met Paterson Joseph, star of the new Wonka film, who talked to students about his life and career in acting and his experience of racism. He also read from his new book chronicling the amazing life of the 18th Century maverick Black writer and composer Charles Ignatius Sancho.

To view the full post, head over to our Instagram.

And just in case you were wondering whether any of the fabulous employers we work with are doing anything special to celebrate Black History Month, you’ll be glad to hear that Virgin Atlantic has invited young people from state schools across the UK to join them for a one-hour insight session dedicated to celebrating black highfliers in the aviation industry!

Don’t stop there! Find out more about Speakers for Schools and the work we do to support young people from underrepresented groups to find out about careers and get the best start in life.

Written by Letitia Bourne, Shelly Cameron and Elaine Ritchie