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What UK Athletics did to Appreciate Black History Month 2021

Category: black history month, UK Athletics, mental health awareness, inclusion and equality, Anti-racism

Global Ethnic Majority

BHM: 2020 - UK Athletics

Black History Month is a month-long celebration of the achievements of Black people throughout history right up to today. It is an opportunity for everyone to learn about the history and the Black community while also making strides to eradicate the inequality that still exists in society today.

Following on from the succes of last years ‘Let’s talk about Race’ discussions, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team at UK Athletics wanted to continue to educate colleagues and the Athletics family on black culture during Black History Month through a series of activities throughout the month of October 2021:

What we did?

Throughout the month we shared with our employees a wide variety of information. Have a look below at just a few!

  • ’60 Seconds’ with ……………….
  • Black History Quiz Trivia
  • Noir Voices
  • Motivational Quotes
  • Webinar
  • Resource pack 

Motivational Monday 4th quote:

10th October was World Mental Health Day and the goal is to help raise mental health awareness. The theme this year was ‘mental health in an Unequal World’ and we all recognise the world is experiencing the unprecedented impact of the current global health emergency due to COVID-19 which has also impacted the mental health of millions of people.  Each of us can make a contribution to ensure that people dealing with problems concerning mental health can live better lives with dignity.

Did you know?

  • The impact of the higher rates of mental illness is that people from Black Caribbean groups are more likely than average to encounter mental health services.  Source: Mental Health Foundation

 Other useful links for mental health support:

You’re not alone, talk to someone you trust.  Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.

Motivation Monday 11th quote:

  • Why not check out the book of the week:- Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann

Miranda Kaufmann’s account of the lives of 10 black people who made their homes in Tudor England

At the 3rd week of Black History Month, we provided some recognition of track and field.  The UK has produced fantastic black athletes over the years and we will continue to feature them throughout the year and not just in October.

In this current climate of adversity and the prevalent conversation about race, we wanted to share  two amazing athletes who are not British but paved the way for many sprinters in athletics; some of you may know them but if you don’t you will now… Enjoy the read.

Following on from the ‘Let’s talk about Race’ discussion last year, the ‘Noir Voices’ series was born.   We delivered online conversations with people from the ethnically diverse communities to share their stories and experiences through their eyes with the athletics family.  Due to popular demand, during this year’s Black History Month we will be resharing three of the most popular topics that was addressed which was informal, but insightful.

 14 October - ‘My hair is my crown’ with Asha Philp, Cassie Ann Pemberton, Kadeena Cox, Kristal Awuah hosted by Jeanette Kwakye MBE

Here is the link to the YouTube video: https://youtu.be/MhqsnGiSCO4 ‘Noir Voice’  -  My hair is my crown

Congratulation to UK Athletics & England Athletics for being award the Advanced Level of the Equality Standard for Sport

Motivation Monday 15th quote:

21 October – ‘M in ME’ The session involves former athlete Paula Dunn MBE, Lorna Booth MBE  and Michelle Moore sharing their menopause stories to raise the awareness of the menopause in women of colour.

Halfway through Black History Month, we were proud to profile ‘60 seconds with Ralph Knibbs’; one of our black employees at British Athletics, Head of Human Resources and let’s not forget his illustrious career as a rugby player. 

Black History Month highlights the history and contributions of black communities and black individuals which Ralph is pivotal in engaging with students to inspire the next generation.

28 October - ‘Leading from the Front’ - Donna Fraser (UK Athletics Equality, Diversity and Engagement Lead and four times Olympian) interviews England Athletics board director the role of black leaders within sport, understanding black history and  the role athletics and running can play in racial equality. 


Motivation Monday 21st quote:

This week’s Black History Month we will feature:

  • Inspirational black female athletes
  • 60 seconds -  Sabrina Pace Humphrey – RACEquality Network Member
  • Motivational Quote  to reflect on Black History Month
  • Noir Voices - ‘Leading from the Front’ - Donna Fraser (UK Athletics Equality, Diversity and Engagement Lead and four times Olympian) interviews England Athletics board director Tunji Akintokun about the role of black leaders within sport, understanding black history and  the role athletics and running can play in racial equality.

The ED&I Advocates have been heartened by the level of engagement and commitment from our colleagues and athletics family during Black History Month.  We have aimed to promote the knowledge of Black history, culture and heritage, and to share stories about positive contributions of Black people especially within the British Athletics.

We took a look at a few Inspirational black female athletes:

Denise Lewis OBE

The first European to win an Olympic heptathlon, Lewis has been breaking barriers ever since. Most familiar now in her role as athletics presenter, before retirement Lewis took gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was crowned twice the Commonwealth Games champion, was the 1998 European Champion and won World Championship silver medals in 1997 and 1999. At one point she held British record for heptathlon points before being superseded by Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, respectively.

Tessa Sanderson CBE

When we say Sanderson is the OG, we're not kidding – she's the first Black British woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Ever. A javelin thrower and heptathlete, Sanderson is a six-time Olympian, taking gold in 1984.

Christine Ohuruogu MBE

What do Christine Ohuruogu, Usain Bolt and Merlene Ottey all have in common? Well, they jointly hold the record for winning medals in the most successive global championships – the 400m runner picking up nine between the 2005 World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics. A former Olympic, World and Commonwealth champ, Ohuruogu has picked up over 26 medals in her career.

Anne Wafula Strike, MBE

Wafula Strike, a British T54 athlete was introduced to wheelchair racing in 2002, originally competing for Kenya. After her successful citizenship application, she began to race for Britain, becoming a member of Team GB. Wafula Strike is currently the only UK Black board member across all major sports.

Dame Kelly Holmes DBE

Dame Kelly Holmes was born on the 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 2000.  She has three World Championship medals, two European Championship medals as well as three Commonwealth medals.  She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE0 in 2005 and in 2008 and founded the DKH Legacy Trust.

Sonia Lannaman MBE

Sonia May Lannaman was born was born 24 March 1956 and is a former British sprinter, who competed mainly in the 100metres.  She won Commonwealth Games 100m title in Edmonton 1978 and won an Olympic bronze medal in the 4 x 100m relay at the 1980 Moscow Games.  In 1977 Track and Field News world merit rankings, she ranked number 2 in the World at both 100m (to Marlies Gohr) and 200m (to Irena Szewinska)

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