Black History Summit to take place in Derry

The Director of Programmes at the North West Migrants Forum Lilian Seenoi-Barr has said understanding Black history is key to understanding ‘the roots of racism and why it exists today’.

She was speaking ahead of a Black History Summit in Derry later this month.

"History is often taught from just one perspective, but no matter our background it is important to have a better understanding of Black history, which is part of the history of us all.

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"Learning about our past and the presence of Black people across the world can help us understand our interconnectedness, our origins, the roots of racism and why it exists today. Understanding the roots of racism can help us move forward and break down barriers of racism and prejudice,” said Ms. Seenoi-Barr.

Lilian Seenoi-Barr

The SDLP councillor was speaking as Black History Month commenced on Saturday, October 1.

She pointed out how the north is now more ethnically diverse than ever – as was demonstrated in the recent census.

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Throughout the month, the North West Migrants Forum will be visiting schools where students will learn about the history and experiences of minority ethnic people in the north through a series of interactive workshops.

"The second ever Black History Month summit will take place on Saturday, October 22 in Derry.

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"Featuring speakers and a feast of food from different cultures, the summit will celebrate the extraordinarily rich and varied cultures of people of African descent currently living in Northern Ireland and highlight some of the key issues facing our Black, Asian (BAME) and minority ethnic communities.

"On October 24, young people who took part in the Advancing Race Equality 2022 Art Competition will meet the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane at the Guildhall in Derry. The inspiring artwork from local schools challenged prejudice and created powerful images of inclusion and belonging,” she said.

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Black History Month 2022 will also see the launch of a pioneering new project exploring Black Heritage in the north. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Hidden History Project aims to transform the way the north’s history is viewed.

The organisers say it will transform the way we view Northern Irish history and marks an important recognition of the long tradition of cultural and ethnic diversity beyond the “green and orange”.

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It will conduct oral history interviews, create a black history map and develop other resources targeted specifically at understanding the history of race and racism in the north.

The project will also produce a travelling exhibition to mark the end of the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent in 2024.

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Project manager for the Hidden History Project Naomi Green explains: “Northern Ireland has always been diverse, with this project we have the opportunity to shine a light on that history while at the same time giving voice to the increasing number of minority ethnic people who live here and connecting our history to wider global movements and events.”

For more information about the Black History Month programme email [email protected]