Croydon Health Services have opened their Black History Month celebrations with the launch of a poignant and powerful film. It highlights the struggles and resilience of three of our black colleagues in their personal lives and throughout their careers.
The five-minute piece, ‘Let’s talk about race’, follows colleagues Mo, Shade and Keisha as they give us an insight into their life experiences of being black in the UK. Throughout the film they speak candidly about the challenges they have faced, including childhood encounters, employment barriers and being unjustifiably targeted because of their race.
Alongside the film, the Trust’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff network has also organised various events and activities along the theme of ‘Let’s talk about race’ to ignite conversation, educate colleagues and reinforce the Trust’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
TV pundit and ex-England and Liverpool footballer, John Barnes, heads an exciting line up at the flagship event ‘Let’s talk about race’ panel discussion (13 October). He will be joined at the online session by Baby Blue, organiser of the recent Black Lives Matters protests; Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing at University of West London; leadership consultant and Trust non-executive director Paulette Lewis; as well as co-chair of the Croydon Health Services BAME Network, Dr Jen Sarsby.
Visitors to Croydon University Hospital can view the ‘Black health icons and pioneers’ exhibition in the main foyer, a month-long celebration of black health heroes from yesteryear (social distance guidelines will apply). Trust employees can enjoy a wide range of literature by black authors, especially curated for Black History Month, by the hospital’s library.
Other activities include a Black History Month quiz (20 October), jointly organised with Croydon BAME Network and Croydon Council, where teams can test their knowledge on a variety of subjects with a focus on the celebratory month.
Leila Howe, co-chair of the CHS BAME Network, said:
“It has been great working with colleagues from the Trust, to bring together and now share the excellent programme of free events and activities for this year’s Black History Month with our CHS staff and the people of Croydon. We hope that the range of activities we have organised will spark conversation, joy and increase knowledge about experience of black staff in the NHS, the UK and beyond.”
Dr. Nnenna Osuji, Medical Director, Deputy Chief Executive, and Executive Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust said:
“We have an extremely diverse and amazing workforce at Croydon Health Services, and it’s important their contributions are recognised and their voices heard.
“2020 has been a difficult year for many and none more so than our colleagues and friends in black communities. COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have rightly shone a light on the inequalities that have prevailed over many years.
“Our black colleagues, past and present, are a key part of our NHS and as a Trust, and anchor organsiation in Croydon, we are committed to collectively improving the lives of our staff who may face barriers and obstacles at work.
“The relaunch of our Reverse Mentoring scheme will help with this as it’s an opportunity to turn traditional mentoring on it’s head and see our more junior colleagues mentor our senior team and discuss the challenges they face in their roles.
“I am looking forward to the phenomenal programme of events that has been organised by our BAME Network and I hope that all of our staff, our patients and those in our wider Croydon community - from all backgrounds – get to enjoy the activities available here and across the borough.
The full programme of Black History Month events can be found at www.croydonhealthservices.nhs.net/bhm20. The ‘Let’s talk about race’ short film can be found on the Croydon Health Services YouTube channel.