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12th October 2021

                                                                 
Black History Month in the UK, also known as African-American History Month, takes place each year throughout the month of October. It is a time to celebrate the outstanding contribution made by people of African and Caribbean descent throughout the world.
At The City of Liverpool College, we are proud of our diverse community and are committed to providing and improving the opportunities available to our students and staff, regardless of their background, race, gender, sexuality or ability.  We also understand why it is important to focus on our shared history and the presence of black people in business, the arts and education, not only during the month of October, but also throughout the year.
To mark Black History Month, we caught up with local councillor, and finalist in the 2020 National Diversity Awards, Vanessa Boateng, who outlined the details of her story so far, and why she is Proud to Be a positive role model for change.

           

“Upon my arrival in Merseyside a decade ago, I never dreamt that my future community work would become a ‘beacon of change’ and I would gain national recognition.
It all started by creating a space and avenue for migrants to integrate themselves into the community in the UK and also protecting the rights and welfare of children amongst migrants.
I then launched a campaign together with the Bring Back Our Girls movement and members of the migrant community to put pressure on the government of Nigeria and the UK for the release of 200 school girls who were kidnapped by the terrorist  group, Boko Haram. This gained national attention and for the first time I was featured on ITV news.
I joined the Liverpool Commonwealth Association and became it’s first female General Secretary and gained recognition from HRM the Queen for my contribution to the Commonwealth Diaspora community in the UK; and I was invited alongside 150 commonwealth citizens born outside the United Kingdom.
The demise of George Floyd in 2020 became a catalyst, a resurrection and blatant awakening that racism still exists and this is the time for a change.
Young people need to be encouraged and take on opportunities available to them to become tools for change because it is their voices and lives that matter. Young people should stand against forms of discrimination.
I have always been a believer and strong advocate for being ‘a player’ rather than being ‘a spectator’.  Being a player puts you in control of the game of change.
My work in the community has gained recognition and put a spotlight on my career and mandate as a public servant. This foundation is being laid for others to follow.
I am constantly reminded of the importance of  laying the foundation blocks for people across the Liverpool City Region, which is an integral part of why Black History Month is very important.
We should aspire to be the change we want to see in our society and communities. Stockbridge Village Ward of Knowsley Town Council opened its doors in the books of history where it is mentioned that in the year of #BLM2020, it’s first Black Councillor emerged.
I am looking forward to seeing boroughs and institutions across Merseyside, open their doors and embrace people like me to participate in nation building, however the bucks starts with you.
Be the change you want to see and be focused.
We have just started and the galaxy is the limit.”

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