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What It Is Like to Celebrate the UK’s Black History Month in 2020

The world made a commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement – this month we are given an opportunity to reflect on our promise.

It is Black History Month in the United Kingdom, and this is one of the most important times ever to stop and take account of the state of the world for our black neighbors, friends, colleagues, and family. The murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people has fueled passion across the globe to truly and finally dismantle systemic racism.  

So many of our organizations have committed to creating true change in response to this movement, and now we have the month of October to check in with our leaders and selves and ask, “are we still feverishly determined to create change, or has the passion fizzled?” This October, we have an opportunity and responsibility to continue building momentum towards our commitments of change.   However, Black History Month is not just for remembering and reflecting on the atrocities of our history of systemic racism, but it is also about lifting up the presence and reality of the Black excellence that has existed alongside the pursuit of justice. The story of brilliant Black authors, scientists, researchers, doctors, entrepreneurs, etc. is often left out of the conversation when we talk about race.  

Black History Month is also about lifting up the presence and reality of the Black excellence that has existed alongside the pursuit of justice.

The life-threatening issue of racism must be discussed, acknowledged, and addressed in order for real change to occur. Alongside that though, we should also learn about the tremendous gifts of talent that the Black community has granted throughout history.  

This month – SHL is encouraging our employees and leaders to dig deeper, look closer, and think bigger about the achievements of the Black community in the UK and around the world. Each week SHLers will receive prompts to explore key milestones in Black British History and to learn more about Black culture. In addition, we are offering resources that build awareness and broaden perspectives on how to become a true antiracist ally.  

We will not let our passion go out, rather we are committed to continue keeping this at the forefront of our lives, business, and company culture. There is still so much to learn and do!  

My hope is that you continue learning and fighting for equality too: 

  • Initiate discussions about racism with your partner, family members, friends, children, and coworkers.  
  • Share how you feel, what makes you upset, and invite others to give their take. Together, try to pinpoint how racism plays out in your communities and what you can do about it. 
  • Say something if you witness someone saying or doing something racist.  Silence is a form of complicity. It’s colluding with the status quo, pretending that nothing is wrong.  

The more awareness we help bring to an issue the more we understand that fighting systemic racism benefits everyone.  Take a minute to reflect – what actions have you and your company done this week to combat systemic racism?  

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Samia Khan

Samia is a business psychologist with over 20 years of experience and has helped public and private sector clients create a more effective workforce and foster success by using organizational psychology principles. Samia has worked with international clients and currently manages governance, strategic, and operational alignment with SHL’s distributor territories and as a result has a broad, global perspective on the changing world of work. Samia has an interest in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and advocates that everyone should be treated with humanity, dignity and respect. Her belief is since we spend over a decade of our lives at work, we should prioritize on developing an understanding in business where employees are happy and healthy to make a greater impact inside and out.

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