By Giulia Falconeri, Branch Ambassador
5 November 2021
Every year, the University of Salford organises an exciting programme of activities for staff and the wider Salford community with the aim of showcasing black heritage and culture through stories shared by black, Asian and minority ethnic members. The celebrations bring together colleagues and students to honour the Black community’s achievements and contributions.
Black History Month opened with a quiz for staff where we tested our knowledge of black culture in the UK. Taking part gave us a novel way to engage with and learn more about black history in the UK and more locally in Salford. It was a great way to discover aspects we may have otherwise been unaware of and it encouraged everyone to get together around these topics.
Alongside inspirational talks and other initiatives, UoS hosted discussions on health for the black LGBT+ community, race and mental health, racism, and race in the professional world. As a member of the University of Salford’s HR team, I was fortunate to join many of the month-long celebrations. So many of the activities provided valuable insights on the vital work and impact of black communities on British society.
For me, one of the most thought-provoking sessions explored some of the challenges and barriers BAME groups face in accessing mental health services. I also learned about the importance of building trust and confidence to provide appropriate care to all kinds of communities. Discussions were intense but gave everyone a genuine opportunity to learn more about this sensitive topic and the importance of such services, especially in the workplace.
Students also shared inspiring stories of their lived experiences. It was inspirational to listen to students and alumni who’ve gone on to achieve great success in their personal and professional lives.
Music sessions and performances were also part of the celebrations -now a firm tradition for the University throughout BHM.
Black History is incredibly rich. I learnt so much about the contributions and impact of black communities on UK society (past and present). In summary, having the chance to participate in the Black History Month celebrations at the University of Salford provided a unique time to remember, honour and celebrate the BAME community.
Every year CIPD features inspirational people during BHM and we were delighted to see Marcus Rashford included this year.
CIPD has many resources available to people professionals including its recently published FAQs about race in the workplace. I encourage you to read and learn. I particularly like the CIPD’s advice on demonstrating effective allyship.
- Listen with an open mind, learn about issues that affect black people
- Learn about black history and the lived experiences of black people
- Share your thoughts and learnings with other white people
- Confront your own biases and prejudices, even when it is not comfortable
- Speak out against statements or jokes that diminish black people; these are harmful. Let your family and friends know why they are wrong and that you find them offensive.
Giulia joined the team of CIPD Manchester Branch Ambassadors in September 2021, supporting us in delivering our programme of activities for people professionals. She also works with committee members to plan communications. Giulia studied for her Master’s in HRM in Manchester, a city she describes as ‘vibrant and lively, full of international students, where you can make friends from all over the world.’ Giulia loves Manchester because it gives her such a sense of belonging and freedom that she’s never experienced in any other city.
‘People in Manchester are very friendly and always available to help you with anything, Manchester is a city full of opportunities, and it is impossible to get bored of it.’
Further CIPD reading
- Diversity and inclusion in the workplace (factsheet)
- How to break down the barriers to BAME employee career progression to the top (CIPD Voice)
- Addressing the barriers to BAME employee career progression to the top (report)
- Evidence-based practice for effective decision-making (factsheet)
- Evidence-based (new Profession Map)
- Setting up an employee forum (guide)
- How to set up an ERG for black and ethnic minority employees (guide)
- How to source diverse suppliers (guide)
- Race inclusion reports: Encouraging ethnicity data disclosure
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