Black history should be ‘known and understood’ by all in Wales, says First Minister

By Dan Moffat and Morgan Morton

First Minister Mark Drakeford believes it’s important that black history is ‘known and understood by all of us here in Wales’.

Mr Drakeford was speaking at today’s Welsh Government daily press briefing , and was answering a question from Atrium News’ Morgan Morton, when he admitted education is important in removing racial ignorance.

Mr Drakeford said, “Ignorance should not be allowed to create discrimination, that’s why education in every part of Wales should teach and celebrate those experiences in all our different communities”.

“Diversity matters in every single part of Wales and in every community, it’s just as important if not more important to make sure that that plurality of experience is understood in every community in Wales.

The First Minister also pointed out the importance of black and people of colour in Wales’ history, and that this is something everyone in Wales should know.

“It’s very important that that history is known and understood by all of us here in Wales, it’s an integral part of what our country has become”

“It’s very important that that plural experience is understood and communicated in our schools but also more generally in our population”.

It comes after a petition which calls for Welsh pupils to be taught about black history has gained more than 20,000 signatures and will be debated in the Senedd.

(The petition has over 23,000 signatures – Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament)

The creator of the petition, Angharad Owen is studying a masters in History, and created the petition because she thinks the teaching of BAME history is a ‘necessity’ in schools across Wales.

Speaking to Atrium News, Ms Owen said, “This immense period of change and upheaval is an opportunity for the Senedd and Welsh Government to act upon the necessity of including British BAME history and culture in the education of young people across the country.

“First Minister Mark Drakeford’s comments today were encouraging and his description of Wales as a plurality of experiences very positive.

“I am looking forward to further action being taken by the Senedd and Welsh government on the inclusion of BAME histories in the Welsh education curriculum.”

This week, protests took place across the world and in the UK in the wake of the death of African American George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis last week.

Mr Floyd died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while arresting him.

Derek Chauvin has since been charged with second degree murder, and the other three officers present have been fired and charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Hundreds gathered outside Cardiff Castle last Sunday to show solidarity with protesters in the US, and similar rallies took place across the world including in London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Christchurch.

Cardiff, UK. 31 May 2020. Hundreds gather in the Cardiff Castle grounds to demonstrate a peaceful Black Lives matter protest. – Aarthy Balaganesh)

Earlier this week the Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said at the daily press briefing that the George Floyd protests were personal to him.

“Despite the fact that I have a pretty all-consuming job to do in this once in a century pandemic, you can’t avoid or ignore the images that we’ve seen.

“And it isn’t just the images we’ve seen now, it’s the fact that in the recent weeks there have been other killings of black people in the United States.”

“It has an impact on all of us, and it matters here too. We have disparities and inequalities within the United Kingdom too.”

Further Black Lives Matter protests are to be held across Wales over the coming weeks.

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