First ever Black History Summit to be held in Derry

The first ever city-wide celebration of Black History will be held on October 23 at the City Hotel in Derry to mark Black History Month 2021.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 2:00 pm
Lilian Seenoi -Barr
Lilian Seenoi -Barr

Organized by the North West Migrants Forum and jointly hosted by Rt. Rev Andrew Forster, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and Bishop Dónal Mc Keown, the event will bring together religious, political and community leaders, with community organisations to explore black history and its relevance through both educational and celebrational workshops.

The programme will feature several speakers including Dominque Day, the Chairperson of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, Dr. Livingstone Thompson, Chairperson of African and Caribbean Support Northern Ireland, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International, Dr. Philip McDermott, Ulster University, human rights activist, Beverly Simpsons, who is also a volunteer at North West Migrants Forum, junior ministers at the Executive Office Gary Middleton MLA and Declan Kearney MLA.

Dr. Thompson said: “My participation is about collaboration and raising awareness. I'm keen to highlight that the triumphalism in the narration of British history is a disservice to education.

"A key task facing educators is to achieve a decolonised curriculum, which can only be achieved through a genuine diverse and inclusive approach to curriculum development. There's a coincidence of emphases in the focus on Black History and the UN Decade for People of African Descent; it is about the elimination of myth of European superiority and the need to redress the crime of the African Holocaust."

Lilian Seenoi-Barr, NWMF Director of Programmes said: “We are delighted to be able to organise such an important event. The event provides a great opportunity to reflect and learn about the connection between black people and European countries.

"No matter where we come from, or our background, it’s important for us all to have a better understanding of black history. Black history is white people history and learning about our past and the events that led to black people’s presence in European countries can help us understand our origin, the roots of racism and why it still exists today. Understanding the roots of racism can help us to break down barriers of racism and prejudice”

The event will also see a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of people of African Descent through music, spoken words and dance, with performance featuring dances from Eritrea and Sudan, music and African drums and spoken words performed by storyteller, artist and poet Raquel McKee.