Wednesday 20th October saw the diverse communities of North Kent come out to celebrate Black History Month by attending a free screening of community led and made films at the Woodville Hall Theatre in Gravesham. Kent Equality Cohesion Council working in partnership with Cohesion Plus, North Kent Caribbean and People Dem Collective delivered the in person Black History Month event since 2019.

Supported by Kent County Council and Gravesham Borough Council, the event saw dignitaries and community members alike come together to view films around the themes of race, diversity and identity.

Chief Constable of Kent Police Alan Pughsley QPM delivered the keynote speech of the evening and spoke at length about the extensive work that Kent Police were doing around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the force as well the continued work around the recruitment scheme. He also spoke about the steps that the force were taking to instil confidence around the issue of violence against women and girls.

The Chief went on to address the audience of over 150 attendees about his commitment to the diverse communities of Kent. He stated that he hoped the gesture he made when he took the knee during a peaceful memorial to mark the death of George Floyd at the hands of American police in 2019, showed his solidarity and commitment to equality within policing. Mr Pughsley was then presented with an award for outstanding support and service to diverse communities in Kent by event organisers Gurvinder Sandher, CEO of KECC and Michelle Bramble, Chair of the North Kent Caribbean Network.

Local residents were also recognised for their outstanding work in their respective communities as they received awards presented by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Bhargawa Vasudaven and Mayor of Gravesham Cllr Lyn Milner.

The event was part of a series of taking place across Kent as part of Black History Month. Further activity will also be taking place in Margate and Canterbury over the coming week culminating in a screening of cult classic ‘Babylon’ at the Gulbenkian on Friday 29th October with a coach making its way from Gravesend.

Gurvinder Sandher, CEO of KECC commented, “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to deliver the first in person Black History Month celebrations here in North Kent for the first time since 2019. It is important that we use events like Black History Month to understand our shared history and heritage. It is vital to stress that Black History isn’t confined to just one month rather it is a yearlong recognition that Black history is in fact British history. We are incredibly grateful to our valued partner the North Kent Caribbean Network and I am immensely proud of what we have been able achieve during this time.”