Mum to African-British children says she will always champion Colchester’s Black History Month

As a mother of mixed-race children, Daisy Anna Lee’s obligation is to nurture daughters who appreciate their dual heritage.

But as a British Jewish woman who grew up on the Essex Suffolk border, she accepts there are aspects of their Senegalese roots she is ill-equipped to instil in them.

She said: “Taking my daughters to Black History events is really important to me because they can learn things about their ancestry and personal identity which I can’t teach them as a white mother. Things about their identity and cultural heritage.

“But people must understand Black History Month came about through a gap in the education system, which wasn’t teaching that part of history because we, as white people, don’t look good in it.

“There’s an African proverb which says, ‘The hunter will never tell the lion’s story’. This one month gives the chance for melanin-rich people to talk publicly about a part of history that’s really traumatic for everybody.

“But, of course, important discussions should take place all year round.”

This year’s programme extends until November 15 with a talk from Professor Ana Lucia Arajo titled, Memory and Reparations for Slavery, at Essex University.

The university’s African and Caribbean Society is holding mental health talks and a heritage showcase, plus there is an exhibition at the Level Best Art Cafe until October 14.

She said: “It’s also about redefining what people think when they hear of Black History Month because it’s not just about slavery, it’s a great opportunity to explore the art, music and theatre from Africa, the Caribbean, and British people whose families descended from those places.

“History is central to each BHM programme but it’s also a great time for events which seek to create more understanding about contemporary issues.”

Daisy stepped down from the committee in 2010, but the event will always represent education, inclusion and a celebration of achievement.

In her opinion, black history is shared history.

She added: “I think we all have a part to play in rebalancing the world and making sure everybody has equal opportunities – that’s important for all of us.”

(Essex Evening Standard)

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