Our 2023 Black History Month celebration event featured a line-up of guest speakers committed to addressing issues of equity, equality and inclusion.
The event theme – Windrush Generation, 75 years – offered a chance to show support and thanks to many individuals who took up critical positions in the newly created NHS, and whose children and grandchildren still play vital roles today.
Opening the event, chief executive Richard Kirby spoke of his hope that it would be an opportunity to share and celebrate the contribution BME colleagues make to BCHC.
“As a Trust, we would not be who we are without your contribution,” he said.
“Today is a celebration of that - but also an opportunity to look back and consider where we have made progress, and what we still need to do to make sure we live up to our values.”
Highlights included a talk from historian Marcia Dunkley, who founded Black Heritage Walks in Birmingham five years ago to highlight the achievements of African Caribbean communities in the UK. The organisation has gone on to develop numerous walks, exhibitions, films and educational workshops around the UK.
‘In-house’ speakers included chief people officer David Holmes, who outlined initiatives to improve BME colleagues’ workplace experience. Widening participation manager Marlene Williams outlined a range of developing programmes to improve equality of access to career opportunities.
A panel made up of chief operating officer Reva Stewart and non-executive directors Jacynth Ivey and Deepika Yadav led up a lively discussion on the BHM 2023 theme – “celebrating and saluting our sisters”.
The panel reflected on their journey to their current positions, highlighting the need for a culture of mutual support – to “lift as we climb’.
Bringing the day to a close, BME Network executive sponsor and chief of nursing and therapies Lorraine Galligan pledged her continuing commitment to the work of the network as a supporter and ally.
Setting out the plans for its re-launch, co-chair Fiona Adair committed the BME Network to a renewed focus on two-way dialogue in response to members’ feedback.