8 September 2021

Proud To Be.. marking Black History Month

Now is the time for branches to start publicising and planning activities for Black History Month, which takes place annually throughout October.

This year’s overarching theme invites black people of all ages to share what they are ‘Proud To Be’. PCS uses the term black in the political context to apply to people from African and Asian diasporas, including people of dual heritage.

PCS’s National Black Members’ Committee (NBMC) has organised four bite-sized online sessions over the month – see details below.

The events will look at under-representation and what the union is doing to tackle it, career progression and success profiles, as well as a discussion on BHM, hosted by chair Mohammed Shafiq. There will be a variety of speakers and panel discussions, and the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences.

Regional black members’ networks will also be making plans. Reps and advocates are urged to publicise events with members, as well as planning their own activities and recruitment initiatives.

Ideas could include:

  • Arranging seminars on a specific topic or period of black history; inviting a speaker from a local community/campaign group supporting BHM.
  • Publishing a bulletin featuring famous black Britons and their achievements, books available by black authors, upcoming cultural and social events that are celebrating BHM. 
  • Starting a book club: read a book by a black British author during the month and discuss as a group at the end of October.
  • Using posters and other BHM materials to spark conversations and recruit new members and activists.

Fari Taherinia is the equality officer in HMPPS PCS branch, a member of the Justice group’s GEC, and serves on the NBMC.

He said it is important to mark BHM to “stimulates people’s minds” and remind them what it’s all about.

 “Of course, it’s about the history which many people are interested in, and it emphasises the role of the black community in our history. But to me it’s important to use it to highlight our existence and the contribution we are making today. We are working for the betterment of British society, the same as everybody else,” he said.

 As well as organising and participating in PCS events, he said their branch also takes any opportunity to talk about the union and BHM when the employer organises activities through its own equality networks. 


The weekly events are aimed at all black members but particularly those who are newly active or who would like to become more engaged in PCS. Registration is positively welcomed from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, disabled, women and young black members who are often under-represented at union events.

Week one – Tuesday 5 October 12:00–13:15
Come and meet your National Executive Committee black members as they reflect on BHM and look at under-representation and what the union is doing to overcome barriers to representation.

Week two – Wednesday 13 October 13:00–14:15
Lived experience with an inspirational speaker (more details to follow)

Week three – Thursday 21 October 18:00–19:30
Webinar on the civil service recruitment process – Success Profiles. Help with career progression and applying for roles. This webinar provides support for members seeking to understand how the Success Profiles application process works, and how you can improve your chances of success when applying for roles. Presented by Iain Howie, a highly experienced tutor from the Workers Educational Association (WEA).

Week four – Thursday 28 October 18:00–19:15
A Facebook live event hosted by Chair, Mohammed Shafiq, NEC black member, as well as a guest speaker (more details to follow).

Reserve your place(s) on Eventbrite and please bring this information to the attention of members in your branch.