Black History Month 2022

Black History Month 2022 

For Black History Month, our Equality & Culture Special Interest Group Co-chair Leila Lawton asks "What does it mean to celebrate the contributions made by people of African and African Caribbean descent?" 

We recognise the societal and historical context in which we are placed. Global majority populations include indigenous people and descendants from African and Asian continents.

Representing fifty-four African and forty-eight Asian countries with respective populations of 1.3 and 4.6 billion. In comparison Europe’s population is 746.4 million. Yet Black history is poorly represented within education and the Media has historically perpetuated a sense of ‘othering’ of the black identity; marking it as opposed to celebrating it. Exposing bias in our system. What does this mean for young black people, adults and older adults? Black History Month 2022 inevitably continually crafted and shaped by current affairs and recent events of the last 2 years and 7 months.

This includes the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained fresh momentum in the wake of the collapse of George Floyd's precious neck by the state, whose role was to protect lives and maintain order, as opposed to taking lives and creating chaos. How far have we come and did the moment truly become a movement? Critical race theory supports knowledge on culture and history for people of Black African and Caribbean origin.

Questions and statements such as "what is the big deal?" and "slavery was a long time ago", spark emotive responses. Black History is more than slavery "Black History is world history". Although, the legacy of oppression due to colonisation and white imperialism has meant stark consequences for Black people. Poor mental and physical health is not a consequence of genetics, there are a number of contributing factors to this. However more evidence is emerging on the role of epigenetic weathering due to systemic racism which results in poor access to good enough housing, education, and health provision. The pandemic highlighted the impact of inequity in our systems for black people.

Black History, often an encyclopedia of hidden stories of multiple contributions to science, economy, politics. Sports, music and other creative industries are not where the buck stops.

The importance of Black History goes beyond the designated month, the relevance of it obvious to those from racially minoritised communities. Though not obvious to all. "What's all the fuss about? " "Everything is so PC these days," "do we really need a month for every protected characteristic?" YES! We would need a lifetime to right the wrongs of the past, but we can't change the past.

Intersectional domains are relevant to people’s life experiences. We are ALL making the future we are writing history every single day. Legacies of colonisation and white imperialism infiltrate every system in which we inhabit. Africa had great wealth through natural resources and colonisation has stripped this vast continent of much and the UK are amongst the main beneficiaries. White imperialism and capitalism are systems in which a minority benefit and the majority are racially minoritised.

What does this mean for us moving forward?

Ubuntu can best be described as an African philosophy that places emphasis on 'being self through others'. It is a form of humanism which can be expressed in the phrases 'I am because of who we all are'.

“We are different so that we can know our need of one another, for no one is ultimately self-sufficient,” Tutu wrote in No Future Without Forgiveness (1999). “The completely self-sufficient person would be sub-human.”

Following the Truth and Reconciliation restorative justice trials in South Africa, it’s this approach that epitomises Ubuntu.

“ubuntu” in the Nguni languages of Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele as well as cognate terms such as “botho” in Sotho-Tswana. These terms literally mean humanness or human excellence, and serve as catchwords for complex African ideals that prize relationships such as communion, harmony, and cohesion." (Metz, T, 2017, p.1)

How do we readdress the balance in our systems, we start with providing more spaces and platforms to celebrate the beauty, creativity, innovation of many unacknowledged Black contributions to psychology, psychotherapy, sciences, the arts, technology, education, politics, activism and human rights?

  • Get behind local efforts to decolonise curriculums in education and clinical practice
  • Join the E&C Culture SIG - BABCP members can join online here (login required)
  • Join Trust networks focused on Equity development
  • Make sure your services and practices are implementing principles within the BABCP Positive Practice Guide for racially minoritised communities

We want to celebrate the achievements of our workforce and service users with authenticity and pride. Not just this month but every month as we appreciate the beauty in our unique identities and cultural backgrounds.

“Ubuntu; I am because of who we all are”

Leila Lawton (adapted from a version previously written by Leila Lawton & published in South London & Maudsley Psychology & Psychotherapy Newsletter 2020)



Black History Month

Black Cultural Archives

Black Cultural Archives is the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.

Small Axe (BBC iPlayer)

Love letters to black resilience and triumph in London's West Indian community, directed by Oscar winner Steve McQueen. Vivid stories of hard-won victories in the face of racism.

Black Britons who Paved the Way (YouTube)

Find out more about influential Black people within Britain.

Nine Black British Icons You Should Know (

ITV's list of iconic Black British figures.

Heart Church - Black History Month Presentation (YouTube)

A moving audio-visual presentation on Black British culture and faith.

The Black and Muslim in Britain Project

The Black and Muslim in Britain Project was initiated in October 2016 with the intention of addressing the lack of faith representation during Black History Month in the UK.

Black Men, Trauma, and Mental Health

This virtual event for the African-Caribbean community was held in June 2021, but the recording is available to see at

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