Newell Phillip-Hamilton works as an Early Help School Support & Inclusion Officer for Walsall Council.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
I have always had an interest in Black history, having been taught by my mother from a young age and I feel Black history/culture along with other cultures should be celebrated every day. For me, Black History Month represents a time for me to give greater importance to the study and understanding of the heritage and journey Black people have gone through, whether that be creating the first civilisations, the African presence in Europe pre-slavery, the fight for civil rights and modern-day Pan-Africanism movements.
What does it mean to you to be Black and British?
I’m proud to be part of a family that spans the globe influencing life wherever we go. Britain is home and I am proud to live in such a diverse society.
Who inspires you?
Too many to list. David Lammy and Diane Abbot have shown over the years they will push causes for the downtrodden and causes that impact the Black community. Both are subject to disproportionate negativity, however, have shown fortitude and have stuck to their principles and they provide a great example for the next generation regardless of background.
Akala. Akala is down to earth, very well-read on a number of subjects to do with Black history, his delivery makes issues easy to understand and I always learn something new from his videos and reading. Akala is articulate and for the most part self-taught, again inspiring me to seek my own answers and build my own understanding of Black history/culture.
Marsha Garrett, I have only become aware of Marsha earlier this year from Twitter, however, I find her messages of positivity and the work she carries out to unpick systematic issues and their origins and make them easy to digest and process to be priceless. Marsha is an endless campaigner, teacher, lecturer, writer, podcaster etc. do not know how she fits it all in.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
With regards to BHM, it would show progress if the event was taken more seriously by wider society and more events were held to mark it. Personally, I would like to see a review of Black history in our schools, Black history is world history, it is not a case of revisionism but honesty.
What do you think would make Walsall a better place?
Everyone respecting each other regardless of background and communities mixing.