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15 Charities To Support This Black History Month & Beyond

October marks Black History Month in the UK. First celebrated in 1987, it is a time for people and institutions across the UK to engage with the rich and vast history of the Black British community. The theme for this year’s Black History Month is “Proud To Be,” which encourages Black and Brown people to share their pride in their heritage and culture. The campaign is running alongside a packed programme of talks and cultural events, details of which can be found on the Black History Month website.

There are a number of charities and organisations across the UK who are working to promote Black British history in our curriculum, local community centres, and cultural hotspots. Sadly, the economic consequences of the pandemic have hit charities hard, at a time when many vulnerable communities are in vital need of support. Supporting and donating to these charities will not only educate current and future generations, but will help cement Black history as British history.

Read on to find out more about some seriously worthwhile causes including the Black Curriculum, Black History Walks, and the Racial Justice Network Leeds.

The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise launched by Lavinya Stennett in 2019 to champion Black British history in schools across the UK. Using a tailor-made curriculum and resources, The Black Curriculum aims “for young people to engage with history imaginatively”. They recently launched their Springboard Programme, delivering free school workshops to 11-16 year olds. The workshops take place nationwide and teach Black British History through music.

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Founded in 1981 by Len Garrison, Black Cultural Archives (BCA) is a home for Black British history. The organisation believes in championing and educating the public on the “cultural heritage of Black Britain”. Alongside gallery exhibitions and educational programmes, it offers free access to a wealth of archives and historical objects. And thanks to its recently launched digital space, you don’t even need to live in London to learn from the BCA’s work.

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CRER co-ordinated the first Black History Month programme in Scotland in 2001, with the mission statement that “Black History is Scotland’s History”. Since then they have gone from strength to strength, running cultural events throughout October and beyond which highlight Black-Scottish history. Their latest project “Empire Museum” seeks to explore Scotland’s historic role in colonialism. Their eventual goal is to develop a national museum and learning centre based in Scotland.

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Museumand, a social history and community museum, aims to educate communities in Nottingham and beyond about British Caribbean history. Museumand bring this history to life through engaging cultural events, moving personal accounts, outreach efforts in the local community, and art and performance. They are sharing their 31 must-see Black Culture films throughout October to celebrate Black History Month.

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ACSONI, established in 2003, is a community-based organisation which aims to support African and Caribbean communities in Northern Ireland. The charity offers a wide range of services, including drop-in support, arts and education programmes, and diversity and inclusion training, all with the intention of preserving Black-Northern Irish cultural heritage. This October, Professor Verene Shepherd is delivering a keynote lecture discussing “Black History” which can be watched live via the ACSONI Facebook page.

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Racial Justice Network, based in Leeds, is a rapidly growing organisation “addressing colonial legacies” and “challenging racial injustice”. With a strong focus on community organising and activism, they have run a number of effective campaigns, including #StopTheScandal which aims to resist the use of fingerprint scanners by police and immigration officers. They also partner with Sanokofa Afrika Study Group, who offer community African history lessons online. Through working with communities across the UK they hope to “challenge oppressive practices”.

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If you’re someone who wants to immerse themselves in visual history, Black History Walks is the organisation for you. Offering walking tours, lectures and films across London, Black British History comes to life under the guidance of a remarkable team. They have also released a groundbreaking GCSE exam textbook on Black British Civil Rights activism. For those who prefer a virtual experience, they have an abundance of digital resources on Black British history.

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Free Black University is a revolutionary project that goes to the heart of inequality in the education system. They believe in developing “radical, imaginative, and transformative knowledge” and creating a healing space for Black people within the education sector. Using a transformative ten point programme they hope to eventually “provide free and accessible education centred on the freedom of Black people”.

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What started as a community outreach event in 2017 has turned into a transformative movement across London. Based in Brixton, BLAM campaigns for young Black British people to have a more “comprehensive and diverse education”, “a safe space for mental health to be discussed”, and works to give them a “chance to explore their interests and passions”. Their ‘Grounded Project’ puts on workshops in primary and secondary schools across London teaching African and African-Caribbean culture, history, and heritage.

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Founded by Mrs Uzo Iwobi OBE in 2003, the ACC aims to support and promote African culture in communities in Swansea and beyond. It’s a place for people from all cultures to find a “welcome and listening ear”. From providing regular English classes to youth groups to their Asylum Seekers Community Transport Scheme, the organisation is a force for good in the local community. Recently they have launched their Windrush Evolving Heritage Project, documenting the lives of second and third generation Windrush descendants.

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‘Ubele’ derives from the Swahili word meaning ‘The Future’ and that is exactly what this organisation is working toward. Founded in 2014, this group is led by African Diaspora and believes in building more sustainable communities across the UK. Their work spans everything from grassroots projects to national policy change-making. Their recent project Elevate celebrated the history, culture and experiences of women from marginalised backgrounds over a seven-month programme. The Ubele Initiative has several exciting projects and collaborations on the horizon so keep an eye out.

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The Black Muslim Forum is committed to tackling anti-Blackness within the British Muslim Community. After conducting a study in 2020 which concluded a majority of Black British Muslims did not feel welcome at their university Islamic Society (ISOC), they launched #themalcomcode. This initiative hopes to make UK Islamic societies actively anti-racist through training, education, and structural change. It runs alongside a number of projects exploring the rich history of the Black Muslim community.

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Black History Studies was founded in 2007 by Mark and Charmaine Simpson with the goal of educating people in the UK about Black History. They put on a range of programmes and courses, from history to food to wider culture targeted at individuals, families and organisations seeking to educate themselves. Their online course African History Before The Slave Trade launches in November.

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Originally based in Lambeth, Black Thrive has grown into a global movement dedicated to removing structural barriers placed on African and African-Caribbean communities. Black Thrive routinely delivers training sessions across all sectors which look at racial disparities and how we can undo structural injustice. In August they announced their partnership with the TNL Growing Great Ideas Programme, which works to create healing spaces for Black British communities.

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The vision of this organisation is to celebrate and respect Black Heroes through educational resources and arts programmes. They work with schools, universities and libraries to develop and implement equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) programmes. Alongside this, they regularly run events and exhibitions within London and online for people to learn about Black British History.

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