‘Heritage and history are so important’
Throughout October, Islington like the rest of the UK is celebrating Black History Month. Islington Mayor Cllr Rakhia Ismail asks us not to ignore black culture and heritage the rest of the year.
“I believe that if you don’t know where you are coming from, you certainly don’t know where you are going,” says Cllr Ismail. She is the UK’s first Somali-born mayor and will be attending many Black History Month events across the borough.
“For me personally, I’m a black person, I’m an African woman. I think before we talk about race, we need to talk about equality and humanity. As humans, we are equal whether we are black or white,” she says.
“Today, we celebrate so much about black history for just one month. We pack it in and done, dusted, gone. Nobody mentions what happens the other 11 months of the year.”
“I think this is just rhetoric and we need to see something tangible changing in the system. We need to go further.”
Since 2015, Islington has collaborated with the charity Every Voice to develop a more inclusive approach – entitled ‘All World History, All Year Round’ – to teaching history in local schools.
“Every Voice do an amazing job and it’s good that as a council we are supporting them,” she says.
“At the moment young people are confused, they are lost in this big city and big world of social media. We are so connected but disconnected at the same time.
“Heritage and history are so important. Not only will you learn from history, but it will make you the person you are,” Cllr Ismail says.