October is Black History Month and, as usual, St Martins has celebrated and marked the occasion in a number of ways. Most of St Martins’ homes have organised diverse African and West Indian culinary evenings. Some of our service users have taken an active role in arranging events that look at various questions and notions surrounding a range of different black identities. This is a complex area and includes such diverse considerations as what it might mean to be black in Britain today, historical considerations of the movement of peoples across nations and continents, either through choice, environmental, political, social or other reasons. Histories of diaspora and the slave trade still exert a powerful legacy, but of course are only two of many factors that might influence notions of black identity today.
A theme that emerged this year was positive role models. At some of St Martins’ homes discussions were held about the visibility or otherwise of black politicians, singers, business people, athletes, community leaders and ‘normal’ members of the public. Exploring these notions of identity and race can be important and focusing on positive role models has given a lift to this years’ celebrations of Black History Month. Thank you to everyone that took part and supported these events.