Black History Month 2021: Public events to follow flag raising ceremony

Flag for BHM

The unique flag pictured - designed by Marilyn Howell - was unveiled to commemorate the start of this year's Black History Month in Havering. - Credit: Havering Council

A series of events is set to celebrate this year's Black History Month in Havering during October.

The annual celebration of the UK’s black history and heritage officially commenced with a flag-raising ceremony at the Town Hall on Friday (October 1).

Representatives from the council's black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff forum were joined by the mayor, Cllr John Mylod, at that ceremony.

Also in attendance was the council's chief executive Andrew Blake-Herbert.

A flag designed by staff forum member Marilyn Howell was unveiled to commemorate the start of the celebrations.


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One of the key elements incorporated in Marilyn’s flag design is the mythical sankofa bird, which is linked to Black History Month.

Symbolising the retrieval of something that has been overlooked, discarded or left behind, the most recognized meaning of sankofa is “go back and fetch it".

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Havering Council will be running public events over the course of the month.

This Thursday (October 7) there will be a themed celebration hosted by Havering Libraries.

To run in conjunction with National Poetry Day, this event will feature multi-award-winning author Tolu’ A. Akinyemi.

It will be held on Zoom between 6.30pm and 7.30pm; email libraryevents@Havering.gov.uk to book a free place.

On Wednesday (October 20) Vanessa J Taylor, the author of bestselling book Baller Boys, will be hosting a Zoom event with around 210 classes attending from Havering schools. 

This will be held between 10.30am and 11.30am, and won't be open to the public. 

The BAME forum will be leading an internal programme of educational and interactive activities which all council colleagues will be welcome to attend.

Council leader Damian White said it is an "honour" to celebrate Black History Month.

“Our BAME communities have contributed so much to making Havering a great place to live and work," said Cllr White.

Crediting the council's BAME forum for its efforts in bringing this year's celebration to life, he added: "Last year the council had to mark Black History Month mainly online so it’s good that we have organised a range of live events and activities people can attend and get involved in."

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