Prime Minister David Cameron has hosted a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Black History Month.
I’m proud to be backing Black History Month again this year and before anything else, I want to say thanks to everyone who’s helping organise the events, and of course everyone who’s going to take part in them, too.
It’s a fantastic programme - and one that also reminds us of two things that I think are very precious about our country.
The first is the role of Black and Ethnic Minority people at the forefront of our history. It’s a story of past struggle as well as present-day achievement. It’s the reason why Britain is now one of the most diverse and exciting countries on the planet. And it’s only by remembering our history that we will recognise just how much has been achieved.
The second thing is the place of people of all backgrounds in building a shared British identity. That’s particularly powerful in this Olympic year. There were those incredible scenes in towns and cities as the Olympic torch toured the country, and then of course the extraordinary achievements in the games themselves.
I was lucky enough to be in the stadium on that brilliant Saturday night when we cheered Mo Farah to victory in the 10,000 metres. And this year, as we mark 50 years since Jamaican independence, it was great too to see stars like Usain Bolt carry a nation’s hopes to victory.
There’s so much to learn from our past that will help us shape a better future.
Black History Month (BHM) is held every October in Britain. The aims are to promote knowledge of Black History, culture and heritage; disseminate information about positive Black contributions to British Society and heighten the confidence and awareness of Black people to their cultural heritage. Find out more about Black History Month.