Rev. Cassius Francis is the Just Finance Development Worker at Transforming Communities Together.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month means a chance to focus and celebrate the contributions Black people have made in British and global history. My hope is that this is a statutory focus for schools and that this work is not just restricted to October but throughout the year.
What does it mean to you to be Black and British?
It means that I carry a dual identity. My parents were born on the beautiful Caribbean islands of Jamaica and St Kitts, but I was born and brought up in Birmingham. Although I love my Caribbean roots, I am also proud to be a Brummie.
Who inspires you?
Firstly, my family – parents and grandparents in particular. Although we still experience racism and discrimination today, it is nothing like their experience in the early days of moving to England. In terms of historical figures – I would say, Muhammad Ali, Mary Seacole, Doreen and Neville Lawrence.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
If I had one hope for the future it would be the appropriate monument to soldiers from around the world but particularly the Caribbean to the Second World War. As a critical part of British history that is already taught in schools, it is important to share with children. Most recently I have become aware of The National Caribbean Monument Charity.
What do you think would make Walsall a better place?
I love working in Walsall – I think that the pride in the town, the diversity and strength of the faith communities is a huge asset. What would make it a better place (alongside the rest of England in this context) is continuing to promote and invest in Black History Month and initiatives like 100 Great Black Britons.