The event, organised by our black and minority ethnic (BME) employee network group together with Chesterfield African Caribbean Association (ACCA) supported by councillorr Ludwig Ramsey, saw nearly 70 people coming together at the County Hall on Tuesday 18 October at the network’s first in-person event since 2019. The event was opened by our Managing Director Emma Alexander, who highlighted the importance of this annual celebration, but reminded that the work to create an inclusive workplace and service must continue every day, followed by talks from guest speakers.
Deniz Önaç, a local author from Derbyshire, who shared his personal story of living in Jamaica for over 20 years said:
“During this eye-opening period, living in Jamaica during the 1970’s and 80’s, I came to the realisation that having the same colour heart as everyone else, I should show the same love to every other human being, irrespective of their race.”
Alan Ramsey from Chesterfield's African Caribbean Community Associationshared a presentation on fantastic work that their organisation does to support the community locally and to celebrate diversity in Derbyshire.
Finally, Samantha Samuels, Group Commander at West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, shared her personal journey as a Black female firefighter, and reflected on challenges and opportunities along the way. She pointed out the importance of visibility, challenging and speaking up for others and the personal role we all can play in inspiring others to believe in themselves.
The event ended with the network’s co-chairs Burton Davis and Shaz Choudhury thanking everyone for their attendance and they encouraged people to reach out to the network and get involved in future initiatives. Anyone interested in joining the network can contact them directly or visit our Black and Minority Ethnic employee network page to learn more.