Celebrating the history and contributions of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities is an important date in the borough’s calendar for the past 16 years.
However, due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, we have had to change the way we celebrate this year’s Black History Month during October - so are doing things a little differently this year.
With our council offices at Shute End closed to the public for public health reasons, our usual exhibition in The Mall is being held online for the entire month, starting today (1 October), via the BME Forum page on our website.
The online presentation showcases some of the themes highlighted in our previous Black History Month exhibitions. Topics include the contributions BME medical staff have made to the NHS in the past 70 years, and the five million soldiers from Black and Asian communities who fought during two world wars. There are also in-depth looks at the Hindu New Year Diwali Festival of Lights, Guyana’s 1966 independence, the Ramgarhia Sabha Sikh Centre, and the UK’s Windrush Generation and its effects on local BME communities. There is also a fond reminisce of two of our recent and popular Taster and Performance celebratory events hosted by the Mayor of Wokingham Borough.
Sadly, Covid-19 means we cannot hold our usual Taster and Performance event, at this time.
However, our libraries staff have compiled author profiles of their favourite Black authors and reviewed their works. You will be able to read about these on the libraries blog throughout October and also borrow these titles from our libraries or from our digital library.
“We started celebrating Wokingham’s Black history in 2004 as part of the borough’s cultural partnership work and then it became Black History Month – so we’re bitterly disappointed we cannot this year celebrate it in the way we would like,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure.
“But public safety must come first. So we’re using this year to take stock and revisit the many achievements of our BME communities, the richness they bring to everyone living in the borough, and their pivotal contributions to our society locally and as a whole.
“The online exhibition is free, easy to access, and you can look at it and enjoy it safely, at a time that suits you – at your leisure.
“Next year, we hope and plan to be back with a bang!”
The photo above was taken at last year's Taster & Performance event.