Black History Month – Information and Resources: Part Four

As Black History Month draws to a close, we provide this final weekly instalment of information and stories of those who’ve made a positive difference within their communities.

Trailblazing Leeds GP shining a light on health inequalities and Black British history, by Emma Ryan for the Yorkshire Evening Post – Dr Julie Duodo, a GP in Leeds, has been helping out low-income families as part of Health Education England’s trailblazer GP programme. A key component is Healthy Start, a national project for pregnant women, or those who have children under the age of four. Through the scheme, free vouchers are available every week to spend on food, formula milk, as well as free vitamins. She says “When I applied and took up the role of a trailblazer GP it was before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. However, we all know that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on some communities which has made me even more determined to help my patients who really need to be accessing the Healthy Start scheme to support their children through infancy.”

In her spare time, Julie and her sister Stephanie run the Instagram account @Afro_Leads, which aims to “celebrate & promote UK Black business & culture”. 

Black History Month Advent Calendar – This Calendar shines a spotlight on key figure in Black History. Some great examples include Bill Richmond, the first Black sports star in Britain, Philippa of Hainault, the first Black Queen of England crowned in 1328, and John Edmondstone, a freed slave who taught Taxidermy to Charles Darwin at the University of Edinburgh.

Can Black History Month eradicate performative activism? By Chidozie Obasi for Harper’s Bazaar – Obasi writes about the harm that performative allyship – the act of speaking out about a cause for the advancement of one’s social image – can do to the lived experience of the Black Community and how Black History Month can address this issue. “BHM represents an effective approach at tackling racism because it forces many to consider the reality that racism has had in all its guises. Against the backdrop of performative allyship, BHM offers the opportunity to decolonise and reclaim untold fragments of history, which not only empowers the Black community but also forces white people to acknowledge a reality of racism that they might have previously felt too uncomfortable to confront.”

How Black Minds Matter is taking on the Black mental health crisis, by BMMuk co-founder Agnes Mwakatuma and Thom Waite for Dazed – In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, Black Minds Matter UK campaigned for donations to provide counselling services to Black people in the UK and has so far raised over £500k. Agnes Mwakatuma and her co-founder Annie Nash envisioned: “an organisation where Black people can receive the healing that they deserve.” The initiative also provides a wealth of information on mental health issues via their Instagram page.

You can donate to Black Minds Matter here.