As we end black history month, I think about the younger generation and their great opportunity. The world has never provided as many opportunities, greater equality and more choice as the present; we have never seen a time like this. It excites me watching this continue as we press forward in an inclusive direction; I can ensure when my teenage children are my age, they will say the same thing.
I was invited to speak at a Black Business Institute forum this month and joined Stephanie Edwards to discuss the topic of urbanisation, technology and sustainability from a black perspective. Stephanie asked the question, 'what is a black perspective?' She wants to highlight that people's skin colour does not mean that they have the same perspective. People from Ghana have a very different perspective than people from Jamaica, who have a different view from Barbados. Even within the countries mentioned, people have a different perspective. It's important to note that our belief comes from experiences we have and where we are trying to go and not just the colour of our skin or even the land that our ancestors or we were born. We need to provide an audible and visual message that inspires one another and the rising generation. We all feel inspired by people that we feel connected to.
When I was young, I felt more connected to the footballer Viv Anderson than Gary Lineker. That's not anyone's fault and certainly not because Gary Lineker was not an inspiring footballer. Viv Anderson dealt with the challenges of that time with dignity and resilience, and I got into football because of the support he had by people like Gary Lineker and Football managers like Brian Clough. People working together enabled me to see and hear things that inspired me to play football; it was not Viv Anderson on his own because he could never do it on his own. He needed support. We are all connected.
Think about the example you set for others as they silently look on. This example is inclusive. You cannot say I am not black, so I am not involved in Black History.
We are making history today! Go out and make history by what you do and say, by the people you inspire to be better. Measure your success by the people you help and lift, by the people you encourage and inspire. 'Inspiring black people' is not connected to the colour of your skin, nor is it connected to the place where your ancestors were born; it's connected to the people that you don't know watching you.
Black history month is when I give special gratitude for the country I was born in and the ancestors that came across these lands, and I give thanks to the many people who have and continue to inspire me to be the best I can be. Especially at this time, I recommit to be an inspiration to the silent onlooker so that they can encourage those who come after me.
I am grateful for you, the reader. I am thankful for your support, your time and your efforts as we all thrive in construction.