Black History Month - Past, Present, Future

Emmanuella Nyinaku & Danton Laromani – members of Aviva's Origins Community

It’s October and that can only mean one thing… BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

The beginnings of Black History Month go back to 1926 when black historian Carter G. Woodson held a week of activity in the USA. In 1969, the week’s celebration was expanded to a month and in 1976, February was endorsed by the US government as Black History Month. In the UK, Black History Month has been celebrated every October since 1987.

Roll forward to 2020 and this year Aviva will be celebrating Black History Month with the theme:

Past, Present, Future…

The objective of Black History Month is to raise awareness of Black History and celebrate Black culture. At Aviva we take great pride in being a diverse organisation, but recognise we need to do more.  As we continue in our efforts to become more inclusive, we will be celebrating Black History Month the best way possible through virtual means.

At Aviva we take great pride in being a diverse organisation, but recognise we need to do more.

History is not solely about the past, but an insight into how it has influenced our present and potentially our future. In the past few months, the Black Lives Matter movement has shown us how systematic bias still exits and we all have a role in dismantling this.

We have a wide range of activities planned throughout the month that will take us on a journey for colleagues to learn about Black History and how the Black community has contributed to society. It will give all our colleagues the opportunity to dive into a variety of topics, give everyone an opportunity to contribute towards the discussions and will help create better understanding. We’ll also be sharing some of this on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Aviva’s CEO Amanda Blanc recently asked all Aviva employees to be curious. So we are encouraging all employees to be extremely curious in October. It is about learning, celebrating, understanding and recognising that we need to change. This is a chance for all ethnicities to focus on the Black community this month.

In line with our theme this year, we have many activities planned that will allow for educational discussions, necessary fun and important learnings. These include:

  • Educating colleagues about what Black History Month is and why it’s celebrated
  • Discussions around why Black History Month is important to Aviva
  • Aviva Black role models exhibition – celebrating some of our amazing Black colleagues
  • The importance of language in the context of Black conversations
  • Providing virtual lessons on UK Black history for colleagues’ children
  • Virtual library of resources to support and facilitate fantastic conversations
  • The Longevity of Black Lives Matter in the Workplace – panel discussion with speakers joining from HSBC, Marsh & Aviva


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