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CEO Blog: Appreciate, Celebrate, Debate, Initiate for Black History Month

Jonathan Whalley St Christopher's Chief Executive

Jonathan Whalley, Chief Executive

“St Christopher’s wants diversity in all its forms to be recognised and celebrated every day as a part of our organisational culture. We do not want diversity to feel like a tick box on a form.

Knowing that Black History Month was around the corner sparked discussions in our charity about the role this event plays in society:

  • Is it appropriate to confine the celebration of Black history to one month, rather than integrating it into education throughout the year?
  • Can Black History Month feel like a token gesture?
  • Does Black History Month reduce complex historical figures to over-simplified objects of “hero worship”?
  • Are the celebrations a form of racism in themselves?

St Christopher’s Race Matters Group shared their views on these questions and considered the best way to mark Black History Month at St Christopher’s. Out of these discussions, the group came up with the theme for our 2021 event: Appreciate, Celebrate, Debate, Initiate.

As our plans get underway this week, I am looking forward to an exciting month of appreciating, celebrating, debating and initiating across our organisation.


Understanding the history of Black communities in Britain is important for understanding society today. We have made resources available for our staff, children and young people so they can learn about Black British History.


Black British role models in our current times are leading practical changes and inspiring others to follow their dreams. We want to celebrate their contributions and successes. We are hosting a celebratory poetry event for everyone in our charity to take part in and a competition for children and young people on inspirational Black Britons.


Black History Month means something different to everyone. What does Black History Month mean to you? What would integrating Black history look like? How would that improve outcomes for children and young people? How would a fully inclusive work place benefit us all?

The Race Matters Group is hosting a discussion on these topics so we can spark conversations across St Christopher’s.


After appreciating, celebrating and debating throughout October, we will all have so many exciting ideas about how to celebrate diversity in all its forms every single day. Everyone at St Christopher’s can put these ideas into practice in their teams, homes and services.​”