The lives of us all have been shaped by the legacy of people from Africa and the Caribbean. SE16 has welcomed merchant seamen from across the world for centuries and today is part of a borough with many diverse cultures and nationalities. We have found an extraordinary level of harmony and mutual respect for each other and that heritage is one we want to pass on to our ever more diverse children. When the Empire Windrush docked in Tilbury in June 1948, no one could have foreseen how the Jamaican community would transform our culture and diet. Followed to Southwark by large communities from Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana, by Bangladeshis and Chinese, by South Americans and people of Arabic origins, the global mix in our small corner of London is immense.

Black Powerlist reception by Downing Street CC FlickrBlack History Month throughout October is an annual opportunity to celebrate and remember the hardship and trials faced by the immigrants, their energy and ingenuity to over come the prejudice and barriers that faced them and how they made good, bringing refreshing tastes, music, literature and dreams. Black people of African, Caribbean and other diaspora communities have built important businesses, represented us in Parliament and sport, served in hospitals, schools and on our transport. They have fought for justice alongside white folk and they have battled for our freedoms as soldiers in our armed forces. We owe them a huge debt and this month allows the whole community to celebrate all that has been gifted the Southwark community.

A great range of free and low-cost events is planned for October. The Council together with partnes from across the communities have planned a diverse programme which is set out in a leaflet available in limited numbers from the libraries and online as a pdf. If you want to know more, then go to the LB Southwark website and download the leaflet. And then GET ALONG to some great poetry, films, baby sessions, history, walks, talks, theatre and much more. Whoever you are, Black History has contributed to your life; take this opportunity to recognise that and celebrate the gift.