Have The British Government Failed Black History Month? | Black Ballad

See original article here – Have The British Government Failed Black History Month? | Black Ballad

As we all know, Black History Month is a month to celebrate the important people from the past and to also contribute to our own history as a society today. It was first celebrated in 1987 in the UK and has ever since been marked annually as a symbolic month to celebrate the importance of black history and achievements.

Yet in the last few years and particularly this year, I have had to question myself and ask ‘What has happened to BHM?’ I mean, do you and I still value the importance of our history? As BHM comes to an end I believe it is right to really ask ourselves how much does BHM matter to us politically in the UK?

Past research has showed that almost half of the ethnic minorities based in Britain, are actually based in the London area and sadly local authorities such as, Camden, Greenwich and Westminster have experienced deep cuts on the BHM budget. Since 2009 areas such as, Lewisham, Wandsworth and Islington went as far as decreasing the budget by 70%.

Many have argued that cuts have stemmed from austerity and spending on the symbolic month is more so a ‘political luxury’ rather than a ‘political lesson’. Whilst others have gone as far as stating that racial diversity have taken a back seat and no longer see the real significance to BHM, some have even argued this is the sole reason for the cuts on black community funding.

Historically, Black History Month didn’t start life as an isolated celebration but a successful move to fight racism and push racial equality into the political agenda. Lord Herman Ousely, Lady Valerie Amos and Lord Boateng were originally the young black radicals in the local authority that argued for a range of political areas implementing policies for racial equality and more crucially on housing and employment.

Lord Herman Ousely

Without any of the policy input or political campaigning London may have fallen victim to racial political inequality and continuous separatism that characterise so many areas of the UK today. So, forgive us if this question is obvious, but what has happened to our society today?

Well, Boris Johnson’s actions hold some answers, as the Mayor of London slashed 92% of funding for BHM and other black community agendas such as Africa Day. This year the political coverage on BHM has been very slim, almost so slim that I would have forgotten about the historical month if I hadn’t been a black women myself.

It is depressing to see that the large political cuts have come from people that lack the understanding of the importance of the history. To me it is so wrong to make cuts and radicalise the effects of austerity on the communities that suffer from cuts the hardest. What is even worst is that these cuts lead to adverse effects and when issues start to explode, society looks at the law and order of this specific community rather than doing the right thing and looking at the underlying economic issue.

LEAD IMAGE FROM: www.gold.ac.uk

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