October marks Black History Month, offering an opportunity to celebrate key figures and events in Black history.
This year, Southampton Football Club wants to go beyond that to recognise the achievements and contributions that Black people make to the UK every day.
To celebrate this important month, we spoke to some of our staff as well as Saints Men’s First Team player Ibrahima Diallo and Women’s First Team player Lexi Lloyd-Smith to find out what Black History Month means to them, why it’s important, and what successes and challenges they have faced getting to where they are today.
In the first of our two-part video series, Diallo speaks with Jake Plummer, Employability Project Officer at Saints Foundation and Sechaba Ntsiu, Legal Counsel for Southampton Football Club.
This year’s theme for Black History Month is Time for Change: Action Not Words, so we also asked our staff and players what they would want the future to look like for the black community.
However, to ensure a real change, the community needs real support from allies. So how can someone be better ally?
• Listen and amplify black voices - committing to standing against racism as an ally means never centring ourselves. However, it can be helpful to use our platforms to make sure that Black voices are amplified. Engage with their platforms respectfully, always listening first. If we learn something from a Black activist or writer, we should think about how we can support their work.
• Educate yourself - take the time to learn about the black experience, the historical legacy around colonialism and slavery and discover what being an ally means in our immediate contexts.
• Get comfortable with being uncomfortable - being an ally also means holding ourselves accountable for the ways in which we have personally contributed to racist systems. If we are called out for a comment that we’ve made, we should consider the impact it has had before getting defensive.
• Speak up - if you witness racism at your school, in your workplace, within your friendship groups, or within your family call it out.
• Be proactive - becoming more aware and more knowledgeable about anti-racism is fantastic, but it won’t help move us forward unless it is coupled with action. There are so many things we can do right now to be actively anti-racist. Talk to our friends and family about racism. Encourage respectful discussion, where it is safe to do so. Support Black creatives and businesses by following on social media and sharing them within our communities.