Black History Month 2021 marks 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, as well as the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, which sparked a global amplification of the Black Lives Matter movement and the need for racial justice.
Black History Month is an opportunity for everyone in all walks of life to celebrate the contributions of our black colleagues, to educate one another on the inequalities experienced by people from BAME backgrounds and to inspire one another to maintain and further develop an inclusive and diverse culture in society which is supportive and welcoming for all.
At North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust we are proud of our International employees every day.
One of these employees is Johnny Nyaaba. Johnny was born in Ghana and now works as a nurse at NCIC.
He tells us what Black History Month means to him.
He said: “Black History Month is important to me because it reminds me of Black Excellence, and that leaves me in awe, motivated and inspired to do more to continue that excellence.
“I am excited about the upcoming Black History Month. There are at least two things on my to-do list. First, I will donate blood to save lives, and second I will share my lived experience as an International nurse with staff detailing my journey from Ghana to the United Kingdom to work.
“I will talk about my odyssey from Ghana to the UK from preparation, examinations, travelling, settling and starting work in a totally new different environment. I will mention the ups and downs, leaving family behind and cultural differences.”
Evelyn Nakachwa is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at the Cumberland Infirmary. She is originally from Kampala in Uganda, East Africa.
Evelyn joined the NHS in 2019 and outside of work is a keen photographer.
She said: “Being an African woman living in diaspora, Black History Month has come to mean a lot more to me. It is not something that is widely known or even celebrated back home.
“Black History Month means intentional recognition and appreciation of the contribution of the people of colour in whichever sector they offer services. I am black every day, and this recognition should become the norm. I wish people of colour were celebrated daily.
“Black History Month is not only for black people but for all people of colour. It is a celebration for the achievements, fights and struggles we have overcome throughout history to the present day. Black History Month reminds us of where we have come from. It is encouraging and most of all empowering.”