Gleeds teamed up with built environment inclusion specialists from the Black Professionals in Construction Network to host an evening celebrating Black History Month at its offices in central London recently.
The event, attended by over 50 construction professionals, offered guests the chance to learn more about the historical and cultural significance of Black history, featuring thought-provoking discussions and speeches from a host of influential members of the sector. The evening’s keynote speech was delivered by Aisha Janki, founder of the BlackED movement, an anti-racist organisation that challenges the lack of inclusion at UK universities.
First observed in the UK in 1987, Black History Month has grown to be an important event across the country, giving people the opportunity to learn about the contributions of Black people in various fields, including construction. In line with this year’s theme of ‘Saluting our Sisters’, all six of the speakers at the event were women and the line up included two of Gleeds’ own inspirational voices.
Phumzile Mbatha, associate director at Gleeds, acted as Moderator. She said, “It was fantastic to see so many of my peers from the built environment coming together to celebrate Black History Month and, in doing so, demonstrating their commitment to inclusion and diversity in this industry. Discussions were lively and enlightening, and it was hugely encouraging to hear the voices of Black women who have forged their own successful paths in a sector which has traditionally been slow to embrace difference.”
The BPIC Network’s founder, Amos Simbo added, “A common thread was how vital it is for black women to have a mentor, a coach, and/or an ally to support them, and there was enthusiasm in the room for how companies can come together to build more supportive networks, rather than working in silos. The atmosphere after the terrific panel session was one of emotion – look how far black women in construction have come, but also hopeful of new beginnings and collaborations. A fantastic start to Black History Month.”