2020 was a year like no other. From the ensuing Covid-19 public health pandemic – and its toll on diverse communities, children and young people, schools, mental health, and small businesses, to name just a few – the increasing urgency of climate change, to a watershed movement in racial and social justice, the year has brought more change than anyone could have imagined.

It can be hard to feel optimistic when there are still so many challenges ahead. But from a year of unprecedented change, we should also feel hopeful, having seen time and time again the power of people to help each other through this crisis, sometimes against all odds. And it is with this spirit of mind and body that we welcome Birmingham’s Black History Month 2021.

This year’s Black History Month is far more pertinent than ever as we bring communities together and celebrate the best that we all have to give, no matter our circumstances. Birmingham City Council strives to learn from its communities to listen to new and inspiring stories and rejoice in our unique identity in the 21st Century. The council is proud to support the annual Black History Month each October and recognises that the city’s depth of character is due to the rich tapestry of life that our diverse communities gift all year round.

Throughout October, residents and visitors will be able to take part in various cultural activities which celebrate and explore our black history. We greatly encourage all communities to engage in Black History Month as a portal for developing lifelong partnerships and friendships and celebrating our black heritage together.

As in previous years, the launch will celebrate and feature inspiring and creative performances, speakers and presentations highlighting Black achievement.

Our thanks, in particular, go to Blackstory Partnership’s Audrey Hayles – Parkes, Mykel Wassifa Brown and Garry Stewart for coordinating Black History Month 2021 as they have compiled an exciting online brochure of events.

Councillor Jayne Francis