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Luton Borough Council

12/10/2021 - Black History Season Launch

Last Thursday at the Town Hall, Luton launched its season celebrating Black History Month. The two hour event, which began at 5pm was one of a number of activities to be held around the town throughout October.

Keynote speaker for the event was Ghana’s Deputy Ambassador to the UK, Her Excellency Rita Tani Iddi. The session include the annual Kente festival. Kente is a Ghanaian textile, made of handwoven cloth, strips of silk and cotton that was worn in a toga-like fashion by the royalty of the Ashanti and Ewe in modern day Ghana.

Black History Month is a national celebration of the accomplishments of Black Britons in every area of life throughout our country’s history. Here in Luton the aim is to engage with all communities to celebrate the rich diversity of the town with a host of activities in the shopping centre supported by the Mall management. 

Speaking at the launch, Deputy Ambassador Rita Tani Iddi, combined the distinctiveness of Ghana’s famous Kente textile with the wider theme of Black History Month: 

“Kente is a traditional handmade cloth of my country. It received its name from the term "kenten" which means "basket," and draws its name from how baskets are intricately woven together. I believe that this ties in perfectly with this year’s theme which is driven by inclusivity of the Diaspora towards development and peace.

“Let us strive through this month-long festival to build a cultural dynamism expressed through our clothes and other adornments as a source of non-verbal communication, which in itself tells a story of who we are, our ancestry, and our belief systems.”

This year the theme is “Proud to be me” and will recognise the vast contributions and achievements of African and Caribbean people who have made enormous sacrifices over the years, as leaders, businesses, artists and educators, and in so doing contributed towards making Luton the diverse town it is today.

Other events

Dementia and the Black Community
Learn about some of the challenges of those suffering from dementia as recorded by the Alzheimer's Society.

  • Daphne, who shares her story of emigrating to the UK twice from Guyana – the second time leaving with two bars of gold! Her daughter Michelle also tells us about her experiences as a carer
  • Morcea, a community leader, who is encouraging people to access diagnoses, and raising awareness of how support can be made easier for Black people through appropriate reminiscence, terminology, and community connections
  • Connie, who talks about her journey to the UK from Grenada, playing host to Middlesbrough FC, and her experience of dementia
In this video, Enomwoyi opens up about her mother, Pearl, while making fried bakes – a recipe familiar to Pearl from her days in Trinidad. ‘When Mum eats this food now, it’s a great memory booster,’ says Enomwoyi. ‘My mum had time in a care home previously. There was nothing there which could trigger memories of the places she loved, where she was born and grew up, which was Trinidad.’  

Everyone’s experience of dementia is unique, but many people face similar obstacles along their dementia journey; we know that the intersections of someone's identity such as their race, class, gender, or sexuality, can mean facing added barriers in accessing appropriate, personalised support. A recent Alzheimer's report highlights the issues that people from ethnic minorities face when trying to access a diagnosis in the UK. A common experience is people reaching out for support at a later stage, often after a crisis, because they don’t feel that organisations are equipped to support them. 

Wardown House Museum - October
During October Wardown House Museum is holding a number of events and exhibitions on themes relevant to Black History Month.

The Sugar and Spice exhibition by Nine Red Presents is a reflective look at the islands of the Caribbean. It provides a snapshot into Caribbean life across the various islands, depicting their individual cultures, histories, myths and legends, and traded and exported goods. Housed in 24 wooden shipping crates – a subtle nod to our ancestry highlights how vital the Caribbean was and is in terms of Trade:- Rum, Sugar, Tobacco, Spices, Fruit etc. and supporting Great Britain during and after both World Wars.
Each doll is as unique and individual as the island they represent. Each one attesting to the islands distinct and extraordinary culture yet simultaneously highlights our shared matchless experiences. These 24 boxes emphasise the togetherness and unity of the Caribbean islands whilst also shedding light on their distinct uniqueness.

Mobile Black History Museum - 26 to 28 October
In the Mall, Graphic Studio, 1st Floor Unit 6G, 12 to 5pm.
Something for all the family.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has released a short video highlighting the plight of black people in Nazi Germany. Follow this link to watch the video entitled the Nazi Persecution of Black People.
© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ