Black History Month: "One of our values is being unique"

October welcomes Black History Month, an annual commemoration and celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK.

Three of the England Roses – Jodie Gibson, Summer Artman and Razia Quashie – shared their own experiences and views on Black History Month and why embracing self-identity is so important.

After being on the receiving end of some unsavoury questions when she was younger, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gibson believes England Netball have created an inclusive environment championing diversity within the Roses’ set-up.

Speaking of her personal experience, she said: “For me, I grew up in an area in Bury where I was the only black girl on my netball team and for a lot of people it was like ‘what’s she doing on that team?’

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“But I just think it’s amazing when you can do something that you love and share it with so many people.

“I love that every culture is different and just embracing everyone’s differences and individualities.

“One of our values at England Netball is being unique, every culture brings something unique and just blending that diversity and those cultures together is a beautiful thing.”

Artman stressed how everyone should take pride in who they are and where they come from as they strive to achieve their ambitions.

She said: “So my parents are from the Caribbean – my dad’s from St Vincent and my mum’s from Dominica – so they were part of the Windrush generation as well as my grandparents and knowing the struggles and the triumphs they went through so I could be here and that they have that strength makes me have it.

“So walking tall and being proud of where you come from I think is really important.

“I don’t like to see anyone shy away from their culture that is different from those around them, so be proud of who you are and be proud of where you come from and achieve whatever you want to.”

Quashie, who recently made her senior debut for the England Roses, commented: “The past is the past but we should remember it and also look forward to the future and try to improve it in the way we can.

“We need to build a future that we see ourselves and our children living in.”

Find out more about Black History Month here: https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

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