As we here in the US celebrate Breast Cancer Month, our brothers and sisters in Ireland are celebrating Black History Month. Black History Month is happening nationally in Ireland this October, making the country the fourth to reserve a month for acknowledging the accomplishments and culture of people of African decent.
In the 2011 Census, African people represented 1.3% of the population. One in three of those with African ethnicity were born in Ireland (19,694 people), as were 36.6% (2,337) of those with other black backgrounds.
The remaining Africans were born primarily in Nigeria (32.1%). Those from other black backgrounds were born in a range of countries including England and Wales (8.7%), Brazil (11.2%) and Mauritius (4.5%).
Ikeh has called on the Government to officially recognise BHMI and so that more organisations, schools and libraries will participate.
The theme of BHMI 2014 is ‘Civil Rights, Ethnic Diversity, Intercultural Education and Development’.This year’s programme includes musical and cultural performances, lectures at several universities, religious services and the Dublin African Film Festival.
The African Irish Development Initiatives have collaborated with other organizations to create Black History Month Ireland (BHMI), which will include national events for the month of October that are centered on black history and culture. There will be music concerts, business workshops, an art exhibit, a film festival, and more. The month-long celebration launched on October 2nd in Dublin at the European Union House. The theme for this year is “civil rights, ethnic diversity, and intercultural education and development.”
“Everyone in Ireland can draw strength from the story of hard-won progress, which not only defines the African-Irish experience, but also lies at the heart of the Irish nation as a whole,” said Zephrynus Okechi Ikeh, the Project Coordinator of BHMI.
You can find out more about the African Irish experience by visiting their Facebook page.