October marked Black History Month, celebrated across the UK for more than 30 years to recognise the significant contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, to British society.
Alongside its annual events, we have seen Black people from all walks of life, including MP Dawn Butler, the third Black woman to ever be elected as an MP, sharing personal stories and experiences to help tackle racism. On 25 October, a blue plaque was unveiled at King's Cross station (just a stone throw away from Allison+Partners’ London office) to commemorate Wilston Samuel Jackson, Britain’s first Black train driver, who dedicated his life to railway despite facing racism during his career.
However, Black History Month is not only a time to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of Black people to the UK and around the world. As 2020 showed with the Black Lives Matter protests, it’s also a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.
While embracing racial, cultural, and ethnic differences has long been a top priority at Allison+Partners, we recognise that we can always do more to promote racial equity and inclusion across our agency and within our communities. Read our blog on our DE&I commitments, the work we have done so far, and what we could improve.
Please see below for some of the DE&I content that we read and discussed in October.
Hair discrimination should be designated as a form of racism
A group of MPs and campaigners have urged the equality watchdog to publish guidance that would designate hair discrimination as a form of racism. This article describes hair discrimination as using offensive words to describe a person's afro or asking to touch textured hair without consent. In some of the worst examples, children have faced disciplinary action in school and professionals have lost out on work.
‘Who We Be Talks’ podcast on Spotify
Looking for a new podcast to try? Every Tuesday, join Harry Pinero and Henrie as they take a deep dive into the lives of Black artists, music and culture from the people who shape it. This month, Idris Elba joined the podcast to talk about his prolific career, his struggle from the bottom, taking risks and playing roles as varied as Nelson Mandela, Stringer Bell, Luther, and even his own father.
Lego to remove gender bias from its toys
Julia Goldin, chief product and marketing officer at the Lego Group, has promised to remove gender bias from its lines following research that found attitudes to play and future careers remain unequal and restrictive. This article reveals that 71% of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with what they described as “girls’ toys” – a fear that is also shared by their parents.
Plans to increase disability football participation by 50% by 2024
The Football Association has announced an ambitious new three-year plan titled Football Your Way, to help develop, improve, and raise awareness of Disability Football in England. According to this article, currently only 4.5% of people with disabilities play football. Edleen John, the FA's director of equality, diversity, and inclusion, wants to see that figure improve among both casual and elite players.
Referee James Adcock shares his story on National Coming Out Day
In this exclusive interview with BBC's LGBT Sport Podcast to coincide with National Coming Out Day, James Adcock reflects on his time in the game - and explains why now is the right time to open up about his sexuality. He says, “a lot of referees will think they can't come out because it's going to affect their progression within the sport".
Why we should embrace ageing as an adventure
We need to feel better about aging in order to age better, says writer and activist Carl Honoré. But how? In this spirited talk at TEDSummit 20219, Honoré offers a set of simple solutions to combat ageism – as well as a host of trailblazers and changemakers who came into their own later in life, from artists and musicians to physicists and business leaders.
Want to learn how to do more meaningful DE&I work? Here are 3 top tips from Kara Kia, associate editor at POPSUGAR UK, on how publicists and brands can be more proactive in the DE&I space.