Throughout October we’re proud to be celebrating Black History Month at PensionBee.
The first UK Black History Month took place in October 1987, as a way of recognising the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to the UK over many generations, while challenging racism and raising awareness of the British history that wasn’t being taught in schools. Today Black History Month is widely celebrated across the UK, from the media and arts to schools and businesses, and PensionBee is no exception.
Black History Month at PensionBee
At PensionBee, we’re incredibly proud of the diversity of our team and believe that this is one of our biggest strengths, enabling us to better understand our diverse customer base and wider community. The concept of diversity and inclusivity encompasses acceptance and respect and is central to our five company values of Love, Innovation, Honesty, Simplicity and Quality.
This month our five diversity champions have been organising a series of events, so we can not only celebrate black history and culture, but also educate ourselves about the work that still needs to be done to achieve a fair and equal society without the blight of systemic racism.
In addition to a series of talks on the History of (anti) racism hosted by colleagues across the business, we’ve also invited in a range of external speakers including Bola Adesina, Founder and Co-Chair, of LGIM’s Culture Club and Steerco member of the Ethnicity worksteam on the Diversity Project, a cross-company initiative championing a more inclusive culture within the savings and investment industries, as well as a prominent Black Lives Matter activist.
We also held an open mic session where two of our colleagues shared original poems with the team. We’ve posted their words in full below.
ROOTS by Alexander Anglin
I’m growing out my roots,
I will always stay rooted,
You may not like my hair, ..but see if I care,
..See if I care,
I will not be muted,
I’m pursuing my own route, of which only I am suited,
I’m the only brother at my workplace,
They don’t understand my roots in the first place,
They call it unprofessional, ..a disgrace,
It makes me wonder what else they have misplaced,
Truth be told, it makes me think twice,
It seems that when you’ve got black hair, you see the colour of lice,
You might choose to stare, but spare your friendly advice,
Leave it by the cutting-room chair, that will suffice,
It’s funny how you weaved on me,
You took another twist and turn,
I guess that’s why the boss-man never made me perm,
We’re not on the same wave - That, I was quick to learn,
..But I know how to treat a little razor-burn.
March by Alex Dodson
Let me pick up a hammer, and bang a nail in this coffin,
Another nail, another nail, something’s blatantly rotten,
Another name on the news, another day it ain’t stopping,
The angels have got em, we’ve heard it and we’re hearing it often,
Are we doing enough? I wonder who’ll be the judge,
Are your boots in the mud, or did you choose to give up?
Police unruly as thugs, they just abusing the trust,
And trust, unfortunately the system’s fixed and corrupt,
This is usual stuff, hearing names of the fallen,
George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, these names are important,
Stephon Clarke, Botham Jean, hear the pain in their fortune,
We need to face what we’re causing because it’s straight up appalling,
Between the streets and rubble, we can teach of the struggle,
And force the media to put down, their leash and their muzzle,
‘Cos there’s people oppressed, suppressed, and people in trouble,
All people should be equal, there’s no peace and I’m puzzled,
And it was us on the boats, a British captain and crew,
And we put people in chains, and they were stacked to the roof,
No hope of actual food, we kept em shackled and bruised,
Men, women, kids, attacking famillies too,
I’m speaking about horrors, but we need to acknowledge,
That we didn’t solve the problem, when slaves were abolished,
Where’s equal opportunity, for employment or college?
And where’s accountability, for going back on our promise?
This ain’t just for those affected, we all need to put work in,
And let em know, rain or snow, there’s no closing the curtain,
These troops are parents and children, these soldiers are hurting,
So give your shoulder to a person while they shoulder the burden,
They’ve given culture, music, artists and leaders,
They’ve given athletes, doctors, pastors and preachers,
They’ve given role models, inspirations, fathers and teachers,
They’ve given to every part of it, still there’s answers I’m seeking,
Life is harsh and uneven for some it’s ghastly, I’m screaming,
If we’re ignorant, or turn the cheek, it’s darkness we’re feeding,
Long as our arteries bleeding we’ll keep, marching for freedoms,
It goes left right left, long as the heart is still beating.