The Apprentice 2014 finalist Bianca Miller was the guest speaker at the launch of Black History Month in Croydon on Tuesday.
This October Croydon celebrates Black History Month, the annual observance of the achievements of black, African and Caribbean communities, with a full programme of events focused on women from black and minority ethnic communities who have had an impact on history in the past and present.
Bianca Miller, 26, founder of tights company Bianca Miller London, told Eastlondonlines that the history of black women is “overlooked”.
While acknowledging the role of women in civil rights movements and business, Miller said there are “also a number of black female leaders and role models who had made a major contribution to society and increased the aspirations of generations”.
Miller stressed the need for role models across different sectors, saying she believes “individual stories might make the dreams of our future leaders seem more attainable”.
The month-long series of events organised by Croydon Council and Cultural Community Solutions (CCS), who manages Croydon’s library services , will include storytelling, workshops, music, dance and art.
Amy Curtis, marketing and communications manager at CCS, said: “We chose role models as a theme for the 2015 Black History Month celebrations as we wanted to inspire residents within the borough and showcase an exciting programme for all to experience and enjoy.”
Part of the programme will be a tribute to the poet and activist Maya Angelou at Thornton Heath Library on Saturday October 24 where people can listen to readings and watch film clips.
Nero Ughwujabo, chief executive of Croydon BME Forum, a charity that represents Croydon’s black and minority ethnic communities to public sector organisations, said that this month will help “provide a voice and promote quality and cohesion”.
During the month, Pauline Dawkins, an author and mother of three, from Croydon, will be launching The Left Behind, a book about the personal accounts and experiences of children left in the Caribbean and the challenges they face with their parents in the UK.
She said: “Black History Month is the opportunity to educate not just black people but the wider society about the contribution we have made to history, as most history studied in school is white history.”
Dawkins added: “We not only need to highlight good role models but provide mechanisms and opportunities to enable others to succeed.”
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said Croydon “lead[s] the way when it comes to celebrating the diversity of communities in our borough, and Black History Month is no different.”
For more information about the events schedule visit https://www.croydon.gov.uk/community/croydon-black-history-month-2015 or pick up a copy from Croydon Central Library.