On a sunny afternoon during half-term a packed primary school hall in Erith was the place to be as families came together to celebrate Black History Month. The event, funded by Bexley Wellbeing Partnership, was organised by Bexley BAME Forum and Active Horizons, a youth-led charity set up to support young Black and Minority Ethnic people and their families in Bexley.
An appreciative crowd came together to enjoy African drumming, street dance and poetry alongside a feast of African food. There were activities including arts and crafts and outdoor games for young children, and a massage and pampering session for older adults – who were brought to the event by community group Seniors In Touch.
The theme of the event was health and wellbeing and there were information stalls and representation from amongst others Bexley Wellbeing Partnership, London Borough of Bexley Community Safety Partnership and Bexley Voluntary Services Council. Experts were on hand from various community groups including Jesse’s Place CIC who work with young people with disabilities and especially young black people living with autism.
Yeukai Taruvinga set up Active Horizons in 2005 while she was an asylum seeker having fled from a dangerous political regime in her native Zimbabwe. She said, “We wanted to highlight health issues that affect BAME groups in particular – for instance, the misguided stereotype of the ‘strong black woman’ can mean that women from those communities get misunderstood, overlooked and can be diagnosed late causing serious health issues. The more we talk about services and support that are available, the more we can address some of those health inequalities.” She added, “What we wanted to do as well as shining a light on health issues, is inspire and inform the next generation, so that they have opportunities to thrive.”