Former Harlequins player and RPA Restart Trustee Ugo Monye sits down with England International and Harlequins’ players Shaunagh Brown and Aaron Morris to discuss why Black History Month matters to them and what they hope for the future.
Watch full interview HERE
This Black History Month our Restart Trustee Ugo Monye headed back to his old stomping grounds at the Twickenham Stoop to discuss the importance of recognising and celebrating this month with two fellow Quins players, Shaunagh Brown and Aaron Morris.
Aaron Morris: “Black History is so interwoven into British History and whether that be from Empire, to the Windrush generation to modern day Britain, it is an incredible multi-cultural place, and deeply influenced by Black culture. It is something that should be celebrated and something that should be understood, so I am really happy to be part of that.
Shaunagh Brown: "Some things I think should be everyday knowledge and they are really not, so when it comes to Black History Month it is the time to put a light on it.”
Both players shared their own thoughts on the importance of educating people on Black History, the steps being taken within their own teams to expand the conversation and how they felt the Black Lives Matter movement was acknowledged.
Aaron on Black Lives Matter movement: “I was really proud and I spoke to all the black and mixed race players at the club (Harlequins) and think it was important for us to take a knee, pay homage to the movement that started in the wake of the murder George Floyd. And on that first game back, to have the whole team kneeling was something I was really proud of.
"These conversations that we are having now around Racism, around unconscious bias, they’re conversations that weren’t being had and that’s wrong and it is now about us seeing what steps we can take to create real change in the lives of black communities."
Shaunagh on Black History Month: "It was very important to go along the lines of action - so our actions as a team are now for October games to celebrate Black History Month we will take a knee.
"We also introduced a book club/movie club, so this week it is a documentary Sitting in Limbo and it is about a specific person going through his whole adult British life and actually being told to ‘go home.’ People don’t realise that these things happen, and it is nice to be able to have those conversations with people who have never been exposed to that kind of information before.
"I don’t proclaim to speak for all black or mixed race, I don’t want to speak for all black or mixed-race people, I want people to have conversations with each other."
Aaron: "It shouldn’t always have to be about the people who are negatively impacted by discrimination to instigate these conversations. I would hope that in the wake of this and in the midst of this movement more and more people take it upon themselves to educate themselves."
If you’re interested in finding out about more Black History, please see below for a host of book and film recommendations:
Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race – Renni Edo Lodge
The purpose of Power – Alicia Garza
Natives: Race and Class in the ruins of the empire – Akala
Brit (ish) by Afua Hirsch
Notes of a Native Son – James Baldwin
Black and British, A forgotten history
Black Nurses: The Women who saved the NHS
13th (Netflix Film)
When They See Us (Netflix Film)
If you are an RPA Member and have been affected by any of the conversations in this video, you can access our 24/7 Confidential Counselling Service on 01373 858 080.