A Message from Jane Dodds on the Start of Black History Month

1 Oct 2022

October is Black History Month - a time to celebrate the Black Welsh community, recognise their contributions and discover their stories.

We as a nation owe a great deal to the many Black pioneers who have contributed so greatly to the cultural and political landscape of Wales.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month is “Sharing Journeys” where we remember those who first came to Britain and Wales in the 19th and 20th centuries. These brave people who created new lives for themselves and their families in the face of adversity, and helped lay the foundations of the diverse Black Welsh community we see today. 

Of course, Wales has a special connection with these early pioneers, with Tiger Bay and other parts of South Wales having some of the oldest black communities in the UK, not least the long-standing Somali community in Cardiff.

In June we saw the unveiling of the new National Windrush monument at Waterloo Station, London, a celebration of the Windrush generation’s legacy, spearheaded by the Liberal Democrats very own Baroness Floella Benjamin. 

Here in Wales, last September we saw the unveiling of a monument to honour Betty Campbell, Wales' first black head teacher and black history campaigner, who was of course instrumental in the founding of Black History Month. We also saw Race Council Cymru's Windrush Exhibition 'Our Voices, Our Stories, Our History' in the Millennium Centre this summer.  

In Wales we have also seen our new national education curriculum introduced. The curriculum recognises that Black history is Welsh history and makes Wales the first nation in the UK to make teaching Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories mandatory in the school curriculum. It is a source of great pride the Welsh Liberal Democrats were able to make that happen.

Sadly, despite the progress made, there remains a huge deal of work to be done to make society both in Wales and the UK as a whole a society without prejudice, injustice and bigotry.

On a UK level the Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up against the Conservative Government’s Hostile Environment policies. With only one in four applicants to the Windrush compensation scheme have received payments, this scandal is far from over.

Here in Wales, we will continue to fight to end the disproportionate use of Stop and Search and deployment of racially bias facial recognition technologies by the police.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will always exist to fight against injustice and fight for equality and liberty. We will keep working to tackle racism whether conscious or unconscious, individual or institutional - wherever we find it. 

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds MS.