Black History Month holds space to recognise, remember and celebrate Black communities, their history and contributions to civilisation. However, that doesn’t mean that these kinds of conversations and celebrations should be limited to one month a year. And that why I have nominated Lavinya Stennett, the founder and CEO of The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise tackling the lack of Black British history taught in UK schools all year round.
As it stands, the national history curriculum can provide a distorted view of our country’s past. When I look back on what I studied at school, we learnt about the Tudors and the World Wars but Britain’s role in colonisation was skimmed over at best, or outright ignored. The faces we saw and the experiences we heard tended to be those of white British people and not representative or inclusive of all the people who made and make up Britain today. Which begs the question, if we have a distorted understanding of our past how can we dismantle racism or truly understand some of the complexities of society today? Cue The Black Curriculum.
Founded by Lavinya in 2019, they deliver arts-focused Black history programmes, provide teacher training and empower young people to mobilise and campaign to drive the changes they want to see. Their approach celebrates black history and is engaging, creative and full of passion, filling in the gaps the national history curriculum has left. To see for yourself, check out their zines, blogs, YouTube and bank of learning resources. Or read Lavinya’s interview with GQ.
Lavinya and I are about the same age, so when I was settling into graduate life and coming to terms with no longer being a student, Lavinya was applying for grants and founding The Black Curriculum. This comparison only increases my admiration for her and everything she has achieved so far. If being a founder and CEO of a game changing social enterprise by 23 isn’t inspiring enough, she is writing a book too: Omitted: the untold Black history lessons we need to change the future.