To commemorate Black History Month later this October, Richmond Council is appealing for Black people who live, work or study in the borough to share their stories and experiences, in order to recognise the contribution that Black people have made to shaping the area.

The Council is launching a programme of events and activities aimed at commemorating the history, achievements and contributions of Black people in Richmond upon Thames and in the UK.

As part of this work, the Council is appealing for residents to come forward and help shape an exhibition which will include stories, experiences, photographs and videos. Stories will explore family histories, traditions, achievements, cultures, and experiences of racism. The exhibition will be shared online and in public spaces around the borough.

Richmond Council is also running the Community Conversation programme, which seeks to listen to the experiences of local Black residents living in the borough, so that local services can be improved and prejudices and behaviours can be challenged.

The Council says it is keen to know more about Black residents’ experiences with local racism, how well supported they feel, what matters most to them and what barriers they think exist as a Black resident living or working in the borough.

Euphrasie, who works at Richmond Council and lived in the borough for thirteen years has shared her story. She said:

“My parents came from Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire). I was born there but emigrated to Germany when I was two years old. I first came to the UK in 1989 to study for my master’s degree in Psychology at Aberdeen University. After university I returned to Germany for a couple of years before living in Mortlake and working in London in 1994.

“In Germany, I was the only black child at my school. I joined the secondary school’s gymnastics team, after being unbeaten at long distant running at primary school.

“My coach told me "Never give up on your dream of what you want to achieve. True, there are, at the moment, no black gymnasts, but you can be a trailblazer and lead the way.” This was a great encouragement to me, and I’ve lived by that notion ever since. I challenge myself, aim high and try to smash the 'invisible' glass ceiling.”

Your Local Guardian:

Euphrasie at the Prince Trust Palace to Palace bike ride

Cllr Michael Wilson, Lead Member for Equalities and Diversity, said:

“The horrific killing of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic has magnified the global scale of racial inequality and made plain the urgent need for change.

“If you or someone you know would like to be a part of this powerful project, please get in touch. Help us celebrate, educate and change together.”

To find out more and to share your story, click here: