Title: Celebrating Black History: A Personal Perspective and a Collective Effort

Black History Month serves as a significant occasion to reflect on the rich tapestry of black culture, achievements, and contributions throughout history. To shed light on the importance of this month and the ongoing fight against racism, I had the privilege of interviewing two individuals, Abidine Sakande, a professional cricket player, and Olufela Bakare, a student at Ardingly College.

Abidine Sakande shared his journey from Sussex Age group ranks to playing for the Sussex cricket team. He highlighted key moments in his career, such as representing England in the under-16 to under-19 age groups. Abidine emphasized the impact of celebrating Black History Month, stating, "History is really important. I don't think it should be around forever. I think it should be about eventually. Just part of the regular curriculum." He stressed the need for diverse education to counter stereotypes and provide positive examples.

When discussing the importance of Black History Month, Abidine spoke about the need for an open mind and active listening when it comes to issues of race. He encouraged people to learn from those who have lived the experiences, saying, "Listening to people will make a big difference." Abidine, being of Nigerian heritage, expressed his personal connection to Black History Month, stressing that everyone's history should be acknowledged and celebrated.

Olufela Bakare, a student at Ardingly College and a member of the Anti Racism Society, shed light on the activities and events organized during Black History Month. He mentioned the "dinner in the crypt" with Caribbean food and music, as well as talks from professionals like cricketers and poets. Olufela highlighted the collaboration between various societies within the school, such as the Feminist Society and the LGBTQ+ Society, to create an inclusive and just community during this period.

To measure the impact of their efforts, Olufela acknowledged that it is challenging to quantify change definitively. However, he emphasized that the society's events and discussions force students to think about these important issues, thereby having a significant impact on at least some students.

Olufela's personal experiences as a Nigerian student inspired his dedication to the Anti Racism Society and the broader fight against racism. He shared, "I love my culture, I love where I come from, but a lot of people don't really know anything about it. People would always make assumptions about me that weren't really fair." His personal experiences highlight the need for increased awareness and understanding.

Looking towards the future, Abidine Sakande hopes that more students will get involved in the Anti Racism Society and that every student, regardless of their background, will feel comfortable and safe being themselves. Olufela Bakare echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that everyone's history should be celebrated.

In conclusion, the significance of Black History Month extends beyond just one month. It is about recognizing the importance of celebrating the history and culture of every group, ensuring that no one is marginalized or judged based on their heritage. The stories and perspectives shared by Abidine Sakande and Olufela Bakare emphasize the importance of an open mind, listening, and embracing diversity as we strive for a more inclusive and just society year-round. Ultimately, the goal is to celebrate the history of all people, fostering pride in one's heritage and promoting unity in our diverse world.

Pierre Cotteau de Simencourt