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It’s inspiring to see so many of our colleagues celebrating Black History Month. While the speakers, cocktail classes and parties might be over for another year, it’s a timely reminder that we should do everything in our power to speak up for – and enjoy – Black history and culture throughout the rest of the year, too.

Thanks to the commitment of The Black Experience (TBE), TBE Allies, and JustBe, three internal teams doing vital work to align and share the voices of our diverse company, the month has been a raging success. At the #SipNStroke event, Simon Glean even discovered a few hidden artists among our colleagues (and quite a few dancers too by the looks of things).

This is Simon’s second year organising for Black History Month, although he admits to being sceptical about last year’s inaugural celebration: “I didn't want it to be a performative gesture … making me feel a bit of a ‘token’.”

Reassured by the honest discussions that came about through last year’s event, however, Simon wanted this year to reflect the continued conversations and developments that have been happening ever since.

These continued conversations are vital to Black History Month’s success, according to Sharon Blyfield MCIPD, Head of Early Careers. “You should be using Black History Month as a catalyst to be able to support a much longer-term plan in terms of recognising and celebrating your Black employees."

Happily, this seems to be working. As Simon explains: “Every month since [the first Black History Month] I can say I've witnessed or been told about continued conversations, developments and sessions focusing on implementing changes.”

Creating safe spaces for multicultural staff and sharing lived experiences with allies to drive change is a journey we’re still on – but BHM 2 shows what a start we’ve made.

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