MPA celebrates Black History Month and announces first RESPECT Employee Network meeting


October is dedicated to Black History and has been observed annually in the UK since 1987. It has been acknowledged as a time to highlight achievements, reclaim Black history and tell stories from the perspective of all people – not just those in power. Black History Month is also a time to look forward, to celebrate modern accomplishments and share future opportunities. Historically, October has been the only time of year when the achievements of Black people in Britain have been widely celebrated. However, the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter has served as a catalyst for change and more consistent awareness raising, inclusion initiatives and workplace support all year round. It is important therefore to consider long term initiatives alongside your Black History Month celebrations.

Black History Month Facts:
  • Black History Month was first proposed in 1915, 50 years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished US slavery.
  • In America, the month is celebrated in February.
  • Black History Month was created to improve the public’s study of African American history.
  • In 1976, the celebration was extended from a week to a month.
  • The UK started celebrating Black History Month in October 1987.

In 2022, the theme is ‘Black Health and Wellness’, recognising the achievements of Black health and wellness practitioners.

To learn about Black History Month and activities taking place throughout the country, please click here.


 Ideas for Black History Month
 Below are a few ideas to consider in your workplace when planning Black History Month.
  • Invite appropriate speakers and create a space for employees to listen and share, whether virtual or face to face.
  • Spotlight employee stories. Organisations don’t need to look far to find great voices to highlight. Podcasts and blogs work well here.
  • Ask employees to take the lead on running educational and awareness events.
  • Raise money for appropriate Black led UK charities (see list below) or good causes that support the agenda of Black History Month.
    – Black Girls Camping Trip

    – Stop Hate UK

    UK Black Pride

    Keash Salon Hardship Fund

    Crisis Funding for Inclusive Publishers

    Black Minds Matter

    Black Lives Matter UK
  • Host a lunch and learn, or webinar, on what it means to be ‘Anti-racist’. Then, make anti-racism pledges as individuals within your organisation.
  • Commission virtual sessions of awareness led by local Black organisations.
  • Senior leaders can attend Black history webinars or related training and share their learnings in a blog or video.
  • Host drop-in awareness lunchtime sessions, complemented with cultural cuisine.


What to read and watch
Please note this is not an exhaustive list.
Books to read:
  • Between the World and Me (Ta Nehisi Coates)
  • Black and British (David Olusoga)
  • Brit(ish) (Afua Hirsch)
  • Diversify (June Sarpong)
  • Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-first Century (Monique W. Morris)
  • How to Be an Antiracist’ (Ibram X.Kendi)
  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire (Akala)
  • The Good Immigrant (Nikesh Shulka)
  • So You Want to Talk About Race (Ijeoma Oluo)
  • Staying Power (Peter Fryer)
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Michelle Alexander)


Movies, videos and documentaries to watch


MPA RESPECT Employee Network Meeting

The MPA is committed to creating a working and learning environment which is inclusive of and accessible to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people. We want to ensure that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people are treated with dignity and respect and are given the support they need to thrive. We want to listen to and learn from the needs, concerns and experiences of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues and our members and take informed action to be more inclusive and supportive. To demonstrate our commitment, we are a signatory of the Race at Work Charter.  We know that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people can face a variety of challenges entering and progressing in the workplace. We are delighted to be holding our first MPA RESPECT employee network meeting during Black History Month. The meeting will be held on Friday 14th October (on Teams).

What is it about and who can join?
The goal is to use the Race at Work Charter as a framework within which we can address race equality issues in a broad and inclusive manner. The 7 action points in the Charter will be used as a structure to enable us to progress the agenda on race equality and to make progress in addressing relevant issues relating to our colleagues.

Some of the key issues to be covered by the Network will include:

  • Understanding and celebrating race and ethnicity (including organisation of Black History month activities).
  • Recruitment, hiring and interviewing processes.
  • Mentoring/shadowing and work experiences.
  • Supporting employee progression for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
  • Investigating and addressing issues around racial bullying and harassment.

The Network is open to all MPA Member employees, including those of us working at the MPA who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. It is also open to allies. Please click here for more information or contact Helen, details below, if you would like to join this meeting.

For more information, please contact:
Helen Choudhury
Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
Champion of Menopause
Mental Health First Aider
[email protected]

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