MS Society Marks UK’s Black History Month With ‘Proud to Be’ Stories
The MS Society in the U.K. is again marking Black History Month, observed each October in the United Kingdom, to celebrate and call attention to the needs of Black people in the multiple sclerosis (MS) community.
To that end, the nonprofit organization is highlighting the stories and challenges of MS patients of African and Caribbean descent and is encouraging submissions. This year’s Black History Month theme is “Proud to Be.”
“We’ve invited people in our community to reflect on why they’re proud of who they are, their history and the people who inspire them,” the MS Society stated on a webpage. “We’ll be sharing stories in our blogs and on social media that center the voices of black people in the MS community. We’ll hear from … people all across the community on what Black History Month means to them.”
Participants are asked to share their story or write about a Black historical figure who makes them proud of their heritage.
“We want to celebrate the stories of the many black people in our MS community and highlight the unique challenges they face,” the organization said. “It’s a vital part of our work to better represent everyone living with MS.”
A “resource pack” centered on Black History Month and “the too-often unheralded accomplishments of Black Britons in every area of endeavour throughout our history,” is also available.
The group’s effort is part of a renewed commitment made last year to equality, diversity, and inclusion within the organization, in recognition of the global Black Lives Matter movement. As part of that pledge, the MS Society observed UK Black History Month in 2020 for a first time.
“We know we were slow to get involved,” the organization noted. “But now [that] we have, we’re committed to centering the experiences of our black MS community within Black History Month, as well as improving representation all year round.”
Through an MS Society action plan, the group is working to improve organization-wide representation and ensure that its services and support are inclusive. That effort includes projects aimed at deepening its understanding of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) across the MS community, and establishing an internal network of “EDI champions” who will work with patients on future efforts.
The action plan also includes highlighting community experiences at EDI and awareness events, and putting EDI at the heart of the organization’s corporate strategy. In addition to strengthening staff diversity and inclusiveness, the society is working to encompass presentations from women and people of color, collect and review of recruitment data and staff training, and on a publication about ethnicity pay gaps.
Anyone with questions or needing more information can write to the MS Society at [email protected]