For this year’s Black History Month, we’re shining a light on the amazing work done by black members of our team who work to tackle sexual health inequalities faced by black people in the UK.
This focus for Black History Month was decided by black colleagues who sit on our Racial Diversity Working Group. We hope by profiling black people working across the organisation – from local health promoters and those who design our services through to those who lead our health campaigns on PrEP and HIV testing – we can celebrate their contributions and raise the profile of the inequalities that exist.
We’re also shouting about celebrities, influencers and other inspiring black people who have brought about change within HIV and sexual health, including our patron Beverley Knight and trustee Delroy Corinaldi, and those with who we work every year for National HIV Testing Week.
You can find these stories on our social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – where we’re speaking loudly and proudly about this vital work. For a flavour, please see below and meet Aisha and Glenda.
Namurach is a Health Promotion Specialist based at our Brighton office. She works with black communities in Brighton to promote good sexual health.
‘I lead the BABME Community Project in Brighton, which is a project specifically for Black African and BME communities. It’s an outreach project committed to positively influencing the sexual health and HIV narrative within the community. We do that through education, training, testing, outreach and support.’
Thoughts on Black Lives Matter (BLM)?
‘BLM as a movement is important now more than ever, due to all the attention the movement is currently receiving. However, these problems are not new, the issues are not new, the discrimination and the lack of equality is not new.
‘But we now have the ability to genuinely bring change to our communities, to bridge the divide and to make the world change.
‘We as a community of people have waited long enough.’
Who inspires you?
‘My longest and most constant source of inspiration are undoubtedly my parents. I hope that one day there will be a time when their love, my existence and my family’s colour is not seen as a threat but as the beautiful existence that it is.
‘Until then I will continue to stand proud as the woman of colour, and continue to make a difference in our community and beyond in the hope that I will in turn inspire others.’
Glenda Bonde is one of our Service and Partnership Managers. She is also the co-chair of our Racial Diversity Working Group.
‘I have got overall responsibility of all our statutory contracts in Bedford, Cambridge, Peterborough, Essex, Southend, Suffolk and Norfolk.
‘As the Service and Partnership Manager, I lead a team of Service Managers, Senior Health Improvement Specialists as well as Health Promotion Specialists. We all work together to promote good sexual health practices to the communities most at risk across the East of England.
‘In Southend, we delivered a community-based educational session to a Zimbabwean fellowship with a focus was around HIV, mental health and stigma. In Norfolk, we helped to design and deliver a four-week Relationship and Sex Education programme for men and women for new refugees and asylum seekers living in Norfolk.’
Thoughts on Black Lives Matter?
‘It is a simple ask! Society needs to value the lives and humanity of black people as much as it values the lives and humanity of white people. The is means all of us working together to truly understand systemic racism and the impact it has on black lives.
‘Black History Month for me is about sharing our stories, achievements and innovative contributions to the social, political and cultural development and well-being of the UK. I see Black History Month as a starting point for larger conversations around diversity and inclusion. It should not just be for the month of October only.’
Who inspires you?
‘Maya Angelou inspires me because even after encountering so many problems in her life, she never gave up. I look up to Maya Angelou because I believe that she is a woman of strong character. She teaches us to pick ourselves up through hard times and never lose hope, no matter how bad the situation might be.’