UK Athletics: What does Black History Month mean to you?
Category: black history month, UK Athletics, violence, believe, Robben Island, Music Artist
Karen Forbes – Event Manager – Athlete Logistics
What does Black History Month mean to you? Black History is very important to me and a time to reflect, celebrate and acknowledge those who took a stand or made an impact in the world. You need to know where you came from to know where you are going!
I have always been inquisitive, some may say nosey! So, I asked questions regarding my family history. I was fortunate to have known my great grandmother and blessed to still have a grandmother and grandfather alive to ask them questions.
My family history became more important to me when I had my children. I was keen to pass on information about their heritage that I had learnt from my ancestors and my visit to my parent’s country of birth, St Kitts and Nevis, the small island that produced the athlete Kim Collins!
What black individual do you most admire in history?
I really admired Nelson Mandela. When I was growing up he was imprisoned on Robben Island in South Africa. Back then, I didn’t really understand what it meant but knew that he spent many years behind bars because he was fighting for what he believed in. I watched the news reports of the problems regarding apartheid in South Africa. Nelson was for the people, he wanted change. Music artists made songs…’Free Nelson Mandela’, merchandise was available to purchase, people marched! Despite everything Nelson was a humble man who did not believe in violence, despite what he had been subjected to. I remember his quotes when I feel defeated. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
My black athlete in the history of athletics in Britain is…
Dame Kelly Holmes DBE
Dame Kelly Holmes was born on 19 April 1970 and won two gold medals at the Athens Olympics in the 800m and 1500m to add to the 800m bronze she won in Sydney in 2000.
She has three World Championship medals, two European Championships medals as well as three Commonwealth medals. She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2005 and, in 2008, founded the DKH Legacy Trust.
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