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We Still Aren’t Invited To The Party

Bristol Bus Boycott

Olakitan wants a more Bristol-focused Black History Month. What do you think?

I thought, ‘why isn’t there a celebration for black history month in Bristol?

It all started with Instagram. I was scrolling through a plethora of photos when I came across a video post, where there was a group of black girls were at the AfroPunk festival in London wearing the most vibrant clothes with afros just as big as their personalities and dancing to the Afrobeat singers onstage.  Suddenly, a question popped into my head. I thought, ‘why isn’t there a celebration for black history month in Bristol?

This got me thinking for days coming up with reasons why? There is a Pride festival where the LGBT+ community is celebrated but yet nothing for Black History Month? Strange. Everyone enjoys a good fiesta and I considered why not have one here in Bristol.

Image Source: Parys Gardener for Bristol 247

This was surprising to me because I feel Bristol commemorates itself for being one of the most diverse cities in the West Country but yet suffers to provide a celebration for minorities. This needs to change – with the migration increasing by 15% every year in Bristol, minorities are beginning to feel left out of the party.

There seems to be a stigma when mentioning ‘Black History Month’ linking to slavery as if it is a sentence that should be swept under the carpet.

There seems to be a stigma when mentioning ‘Black History Month’ linking to slavery as if it is a sentence that should be swept under the carpet. As a member of the black community this upsets me. Black history covers more than only suffering – even though that it is an important part of our history. It is a happy occasion for black folk around the United Kingdom, seeing our people being recognised for their work, such as: the famously known Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks or even the unknown heroes Dorothy Height, who worked on making opportunities for women especially black women in the 60s.

Our black ancestors deserved to be honoured every year, actually every day, because their noble acts which have not only changed the lives of black communities everywhere but civil rights for everyone. Additionally, talking about Bristol’s history – being an active part of the slave trade – I believe having a festival will combat the past events and look to the future for even more diverse Bristol.

I can imagine the festival now; there would be incredible Bristolian Afrobeat artists performing, cultural artists, children learning about black history and people in the most exuberant cultural clothes and everyone together.

Who knows my imagination could be a reality if enough people make a suggestion to the Bristol City Council

So this year take a moment this black history month and spend some time thinking about who could have sacrificed their freedom, their job or lives for you to have any opportunity.

Read Parys Gardener’s piece for Bristol 247 on Black History Month as Bristol

Unity Youth Forum is a safe space for young BME Bristolians wanting to come together.

Head to M Shed to check out their resources on Bristol’s involvement in the slave trade.