Celebrating the African Caribbean spirit
In a special presentation at RAF Hendon yesterday, the College of North East London (CONEL), along with its partners Barnet College and Middlesex University, was officially awarded with Centre of Vocational Excellence (COVE) status in recognition of its outstanding Care training.
Over 170 delegates were treated to music, dance, poetry, powerful drama, workshops and celebrity speakers at a Black History event at the College of North East London (CONEL) on Saturday 16 October.
Celebrate and Educate for Black History Month was organised jointly between the School of Trade Union Education at CONEL and the GMB* London Region Race Committee. The four-hour afternoon gathering brought the local community together to commemorate African Caribbean and Asian heritage, and positive Black contributions to British society through a variety of activities.
The event started and ended with music; guests were greeted by the sounds of The Mangrove Steel Band and sent on their way after singing the inspirational Redemption Song with reggae duo The Hiites. The London Anti-Racist Alliance drama group performed plays and music, while Visha Tailor brought a touch of Bollywood dance and CONEL student Ruth Wardsley (who performed for Nelson Mandela at the recent Peace Concert) treated spectators to her poem Free at Last.
Attendees had chance to take part in some thought provoking workshops including Modern Britain: multi-racial and diverse by Antonia Bright from the Movement for Justice, Muhammad Ali: sports and the civil rights movement by Adeyinka Makinde from CONEL and Women Trafficking by Norma Muico from Anti Slavery International. The biggest crowd however gathered with CONEL staff to discuss Racism & Resistance: Black and Asian workers and the trade unions.
Guest speakers on the day included David Lammy MP, Paul Head (Principal at CONEL), Charles Adje (Leader of Haringey Council), Sheila Peacock (Mayor of Haringey) and Jo McCartney (Member of the Greater London Assembly).
Visitors were also welcome to tuck into the African Caribbean food on offer whilst browsing around the many stalls, by the Marcus Garvey Library, the Black History Bookstall and the Movement for Justice amongst others, set up in the college Pavilion.
The College was thrilled that the event proved to be a great success according to glowing reports from both staff and visitors. Pauline Cameron, a Trade Union Education tutor at CONEL enjoyed the day. "History at school was all about kings and queens, Vikings, Saxons and the British Empire. It said nothing to me about my life and my family. Its as if we were hidden from history. Its been a great day - I hope this becomes an annual event.
Notes to editors:
3) Black History Month (BHM) is held every October in Britain. For more information, please visit their website.
4) *Over 100 smaller unions joined together to form the modern GMB - Britain's General Union. These initials were adopted as the official title in 1989. For more information please go to their website.
- Last Updated: 25 October 2004