ACISS Celebrates Black History Month with Art, Advocacy, and Unity in Surrey and Sussex, UK

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The Salfords Community Village Hall in Surrey and Sussex bore witness to a triumphant three-day celebration of Black History Month, where the African Community in Surrey and Sussex (ACISS) united to commemorate the richness of black culture, history, and community spirit. From insightful historical journeys to vital health advocacy and a grand display of cultural diversity, this event left an indelible mark on all in attendance.

Kicking off this monumental event, global celebrity artist Tayo Fatunla masterfully guided the audience through a mesmerizing journey deep into the annals of history, with a focus on the remarkable stories of black heroes. In particular, his narrative prowess brought to life the Windrush generation’s saga, leaving the audience both enlightened and inspired.

Complementing this historical voyage was the 19-year-old poet, Emmanuel Idajili, who delivered a powerful poem on freedom. His stirring words resonated deeply with those in attendance, creating an unforgettable moment that tugged at the heartstrings of many.

The second day of the event witnessed a gathering of professionals and community members engaged in vital conversations about the pressing health challenges confronting the black community. Sickle cell disease, diabetes, hypertension, and hospice care were among the pivotal topics discussed, highlighting the day’s focus on disease prevention through education and awareness.

The third day of the celebration saw the community uniting to stage a resounding success. A fashion parade took center stage, displaying the rich cultural diversity of the community, symbolizing the vibrancy of black culture.

The event was graced by the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Reigate and Banstead, Cllr Eddy Humphreys and his wife, who mingled with the community members, spreading joy and a message of tolerance. Mayor Humphreys emphasized the importance of togetherness and continued dialogue within the community. Cllr Richard Biggs, leader of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, applauded ACISS’s remarkable progress and encouraged members to remain engaged and seek guidance.

Dr. Gillian Orrow, the director of Growing Health Together, made a significant impact by offering her support to the community. Her open invitation for community guidance and assistance was warmly received.

The night came alive with dancing, music, and a powerful reiteration of Emmanuel’s poem on freedom. The fashion parade showcased elegance and a burst of colors that truly celebrated the richness of African culture.

The celebration concluded with a feast featuring the essential African dish, jollof rice, cementing this three-day extravaganza as a memorable and unifying celebration of culture, history, and community spirit.

As a final note of appreciation, the community recognized the organizations and individuals who had supported ACISS throughout the past year. ACISS expressed heartfelt gratitude to organizations like Alliance for Better Care, Growing Health Together, NHS Surrey, and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for their consistent support and commitment to the well-being of the community.

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