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In an extraordinary three-day event that lit up the Salfords Community Village Hall, the African Community in Surrey and Sussex (ACISS) came together to celebrate Black History Month. From art and poetry that touched the soul to vital discussions on health advocacy and an awe-inspiring fashion parade, this event left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who attended.

Day 1: A Journey through History with Tayo Fatunla and Emmanuel Idajili

The inaugural day of this Black History Month event was a historical odyssey. widely celebrated artist and poet, Tayo Fatunla took the audience on a captivating journey through the rich history of black heroes. He skillfully weaved the tale of the Windrush generation, leaving the audience enlightened and inspired.

Adding to the day’s allure was 19-year-old poet Emmanuel Idajili, whose poem on freedom resonated deeply with the audience. It was a moment to remember as the young poet’s words touched the emotional chords of many present.

Day 2: Vital Health Advocacy Conversations

Day 2 of the event brought together professionals and community members in a crucial conversation about the health challenges facing the black community. Topics ranging from sickle cell disease and diabetes to hypertension and hospice care were discussed. The day was dedicated to preventing these diseases through education and awareness.

ACISS expressed its gratitude to organisations like Alliance for Better Care, Growing Health Together, NHS Surrey, and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for their continued support and dedication to the community’s well-being.

Day 3: A Night of Cultural Splendour and Unity

Despite work schedules, the community united to make the last day of the celebration a resounding success. The day featured a fashion parade that showcased the rich cultural diversity of the community, a testament to the vibrancy of black culture.

The event was graced by the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Reigate and Banstead, Cllr Eddy Humphreys and his wife, the Mayoress. They mingled with the community members, spreading joy and tolerance.

In his address, Mayor Humphreys promoted togetherness and tolerance, emphasising the importance of continuing the conversation within the community. Cllr Richard Biggs, the leader of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, lauded ACISS for its remarkable progress and encouraged members to keep engaging and seeking guidance.

Dr. Gillian Orrow, the director of Growing Health Together, made a significant impact by showing her support for the community. Her open invitation to the community for guidance and assistance was warmly received.

The night was filled with dancing, music, and Emmanuel’s powerful reiteration of his poem on freedom. The fashion parade displayed elegance and a burst of colours that truly celebrated the richness of African culture.

The event concluded with a feast featuring the essential African dish, Jollof rice. It was indeed a memorable three-day celebration that underscored the community’s unity and dedication to honouring its rich heritage.

As a final note of appreciation, the community recognised the organisations and individuals who had supported ACISS throughout the past year. This three-day extravaganza will be remembered as an inspiring and unifying celebration of culture, history, and community spirit.