KECC working in partnership with Dartford Borough Council and community partners organised an extensive programme of events to celebrate Black History Month 2023 in Dartford. This has included events in the Town Centre, Temple Hill and Ebbsfleet as well as a series of workshops in local schools.

On Monday October 9th a Civic event attended by Deputy Lieutenant Kelvin Holford, KCC Chairman Cllr Gary Cooke, Leader of Dartford Borough Council Jeremy Kite and Mayor of Dartford Cllr Rosanna Currans took place at the Crossways Community Church in Dartford.

Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL and Elliese Bramble from KECC opened the event by welcoming those in attendance and talking about the importance of recognising the contribution of communities from Africa and the Caribbean throughout British history and not just since the end of the Second World War.

Local community champion Garnet Johnson spoke about his family’s personal journey from the Caribbean to the UK and the many struggles they endured as well as their successes. He spoke about his connection to Dartford and the work he does with young people. Debo Brown the founder of Animation West Africa showcased the amazing work being done by the company and the rich stories and films to not only come out of Africa, but also being done in the UK by animators of African descent.

Donovan Blair spoke after about this family’s connection to Windrush and their life in the UK as well as his experience as a first generation British born Black man. He spoke passionately about the impact that racism had throughout his life and the way he overcame it to succeed professionally as well as raise a happy biracial family.

Andrea Vigille spoke on behalf of the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and talked about access to health as well as the steps being taken to tackle health inequalities amongst diverse communities. Bali Rodgers from Safer Communities Alliance covered the work being done by the organisation to help provide diversionary activity for young people as well as the importance of unity and community.

Deputy Lieutenant Kelvin Holford spoke a word of thanks to all those in attendance and about how Dartford was one community regardless of background.

Community partners and caterers Dela Oresanwo and Rebecca Ajewole closed the evening by talking about their local micro businesses both of which were created in the middle of lockdown amidst personal loss. Both business owners provided authentic Afro Caribbean cuisine and desserts to happy attendees.

Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL, CEO of KECC and event organiser, “As an organisation our whole ethos is about bringing communities together to celebrate what unites rather than divides. The simple fact is when we talk about Black history, it should not be separate from British history and I think it is often forgotten that the British ties with those from the Caribbean and African diaspora go back over hundreds of years. Those that are familiar with our work will know that we don’t just celebrate Black History only in October, but all year round just the way it should be. I would like to thank Dartford Borough Council and all our community partners for all their support for our programme this year.”