BLOG: Celebrating Black History Month at One Housing
By Sophie Brownlee and Oyindamola Sosanya
- 20 October 2020
We pride ourselves on being a housing association with a strong social purpose, not just for building houses for people to call home, but for building diverse, resilient communities. We have been celebrating Black History Month by highlighting and celebrating people of African-Caribbean heritage who have made, and are making, a difference, taking strides, and breaking boundaries.
We pride ourselves on being a housing association with a strong social purpose, not just for building houses for people to call home, but for building diverse, resilient communities. In this blog, Oyindamola Sosanya discusses some of the things our BAME network group has been highlighting and sharing during Black History Month.
At One Housing, we have been celebrating Black History Month throughout October by highlighting and celebrating people of African-Caribbean heritage who have made, and are making, a difference, taking strides, and breaking boundaries.
We believe that for an inclusive, equal society we have to look back at those people who have transcended limitations and laid the path for the progress that we have made. 2020 has been a huge year for renewed conversations around racial equality. These conversations are not new, but they highlight the resilience, incredible fortitude, entrepreneurialism, leadership and an overwhelming sense of duty despite the challenges faced.
The journey of change regarding racial equality is a long haul and but while 2020 has shed light on the issues, there is still a lot that needs to be done. This year alone we have faced the ongoing Windrush Generation Scandal and the shortcomings of the resulting compensation; the health inequalities from Covid-19 and the impact of lockdown; the global reaction following multiple deaths in the US under horrific circumstances such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; and the rising momentum of the Black Lives Matter campaign, particularly amongst young people. In housing, homelessness has only increased in BAME communities, from 18% to 36% in the last two decades, double the presence of ethnic minorities in the population. BAME households are also far more likely to live in overcrowded, inadequate or fuel poor housing than whites.
There have been a lot of influential black role models who have worked endlessly to further the cause both in British society and in our sector, and we at One Housing have been using Black History Month to highlight these stories and think of ways to continue the cause.
Multiple studies have confirmed that people from BAME backgrounds in the UK are disproportionately getting infected and dying from Covid-19. These studies present uncomfortable truths about persistent inequality in the UK. We have worked hard to keep our residents up-to-date and safe during the pandemic. Our regeneration projects are designed with residents in mind, engaging them at all stages and levels to ensure we are building communities with the people who live there as the priority.
It is a really important part of being a modern employer that we value diversity of our workforce and that we work towards having a diverse Board and Senior team, something we are proud to be committed to.
We can all do better. At One Housing, we are part of a sector that serves a large proportion of people from an ethnic minority background. We must be willing to show that we are committed to being inclusive, fair and anti-racist not just because it is the right thing to do but because it also allows us to give a better service to our residents through our social housing, letting services, employment opportunities and training offers.
Sophie Brownlee is an External Affairs Officer at One Housing
Oyindamola Sosanya is a Change Manager and Co-Chair One Housing BAME Network
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