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London Mayor praises 'inspiring' Black Cultural Archives

INSPIRING VISIT: (lr) Cllr. Sonia Winfred, Sean Harris (Leader of Lambeth Council), Paul Reid (BCA Director), Dawn Hill (BCA Chair), Matthew Ryder (Deputy Mayor Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement), Sadiq Khan (London Mayor), Cllr. Lib Peck, Miranda Brawn (BCA Vice-Chair), Conrad Peters (BCA Trustee) [PHOTO CREDIT: Sharon Wallace]

LONDON MAYOR Sadiq Khan visited the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) as part of Black History Month celebrations and praised the work of the organisation in highlighting and celebrating the lives of African and Caribbean people in the capital and across the country.

The BCA was founded in 1981 by educationalist and historian Len Garrison and others members of the Black British community in a bid to record, preserve and celebrate the history of people of African descent in Britain.

During his tour, Khan visited the award-winning centre's current display Rights of Passage: A Century of People Power and called on Londoners of all backgrounds to use Black History Month as an opportunity to learn about the stories, experiences and heritage of the city’s diverse communities.

He said: “I’m proud that we have the UK’s first dedicated Black heritage centre here in London. The BCA does incredibly important work with its excellent programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate the histories of our African and Caribbean communities, as well as highlighting all they have done to add to the life of the capital. The stories told here are both fascinating and inspiring.

“London is one of the most diverse places in the world and we do not just tolerate each other’s differences, we embrace them. I urge all Londoners to use Black History Month as an opportunity to learn more about their neighbours and the heritage of our city’s diverse communities – we can only appreciate each other fully when we share and understand our stories and our history.”

Throughout the month, the Mayor has been joining Londoners from all backgrounds at a variety of events across the city to pay tribute to the city’s African and African Caribbean communities.

The Mayor was joined on his tour of Black Cultural Archives by Matthew Ryder, his Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement.

Khan has asked Ryder, a leading QC, to help ensure Londoners from different faiths, ethnicities, backgrounds and social classes are better integrated in a city that is the most diverse in the country, where the population is at record levels and where more than 100 languages are spoken.

Ryder's task will be to ensure Londoners of every gender, ethnicity, faith, culture, age, sexuality and socio-economic background don’t just live side by side, but live truly interconnected lives.

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