To celebrate Black History Month in October of this year, we asked some of the members of our community to tell us more about themselves and their lives in fencing. Here, senior independent director Janet Campbell, shares what black history means to her.
Janet, how are you involved in fencing? What does this mean you do?
I’m the senior independent director on the Board
How did you get started in fencing?
I wanted to develop myself as a non-executive Director
What three words would you use to describe your involvement in fencing?
Governance, administration, spectator
Where were you born and brought up?
In London in the early 60s
What does Black History Month mean to you?
It’s an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the significant achievements of Black people through the years, and to remind ourselves that much of the history taught in schools is ‘white-washed’.
How has Black History shaped your life?
My own education in UK black history has been a direct result of my own literary choices as an adult – Black history was not part of any history lessons when I was at school. Even looking more recently, and raising two Black sons, Black history in their school was generally summed up by the class watching the programme ‘Roots’. If I were faced today with some of the conversations I had had with their teachers when my sons were younger, my response to the curriculum provided in schools would be very different in order to provide an equality of experience from a young age. Black History is our history.
What three words would you use to describe Black History Month?
Important, informative, proud
Who is your biggest inspiration? / Are there any influential Black role models in your life?
There are so many Black people who have influenced or inspired me – directly and indirectly. To name just two – my grandmother, Clarice Johnson (sadly, she passed away in 2017) was one of my earliest role models and Michele Obama. The latter may seem trite but I believe her being the first Black First Lady of the US enabled millions of Black women around the world to be unapologetically themselves – that’s not as easy as it sounds!
Who is someone making Black History today?
Again, so many to choose from. The many and varied Black Lives Matter campaigns to strive for racial equality have given important platforms to so many talented and previously muted voices. Marcus Rashford is an inspiration – a young Black man who is using his platform for significant social good.
If people could watch, read or listen to one thing this month to understand more about Black History what would you suggest, and why?
Goodness, what to choose! If it’s just one, I recently watched this https://youtu.be/k_LmRcr8Mm4 one of my all time favourite songs, performed by a wonderfully talented family that confounded a typical stereotypical trope about Black people and music
Complete the sentence …“When I’m not involved with fencing I am…”
“…Working, playing netball, reading or getting my zen on in yoga.”
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