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Group hoping to organise Black History Month in Herne Bay

A newly formed group is hoping to battle racism and hatred by bringing Black History Month to Herne Bay.

Led by Gill Wilson, a founding director of Beach Creative, the team of five is looking to organise a series of events to celebrate it next year.

Black History Month has been celebrated every October in the UK for more than 30 years – but little has been done in Herne Bay.

Gill Wilson
Gill Wilson

It aims to champion the achievements of black people.

“I think if people are made aware that there has been an imbalance in how history is presented, it would make it easier to battle ignorance,” said Ms Wilson.

“We want to engender some kind of empathy and understanding of different cultures – not a blind hatred. We are so white-centric in Herne Bay; it would be nice to open our eyes a little bit.

“It’s clear some people feel quite threatened about having a Black History Month, even in a town where multiculturalism isn’t rife.”

The idea to mark it in the town was spawned following a heated debate online about its absence in Herne Bay.

Ms Wilson believes it should be celebrated in the town “in view of the fact that the town is slowly becoming more multicultural”.

“We want to celebrate diversity; it enriches society,” Ms Wilson added. “Every month is White History Month in Herne Bay.

“I think it’s very difficult for white men who don’t experience discrimination in their everyday lives to understand how annoying, frustrating and disempowering it can be.

“Women probably understand that slightly more because we still face it every day. We want to celebrate diversity; it enriches society.”

Through her work with Beach Creative, Ms Wilson has organised International Women’s Day events in conjunction with local schools.

She hopes to do the same for Black History Month, but also wants to secure speakers to deliver talks on a range of subjects.

“We need to get young people involved in this as well,” she explained.

“It’s important we develop a generation that is politically and socially aware. Children also influence their parents’ views and that’s very important.”

Ms Wilson is still appealing for new members to join her group and will look into various funding options.

“We’ve got to start now,” she said. “In my experience if you want to hold an event you’ve got to organise it a year in advance – so it’s got to start in the next week or two.

“I’m serious about it as long as everyone’s willing to put some time into it. It’s got to be something people buy into.”

If you are interested in helping, leave a message for Ms Wilson at Beach Creative.

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