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Proud to Be
Black History Month: Black History Month logo

Proud to Be

We are inviting staff to be part of the Trust ‘Proud to be’ campaign, an opportunity for our staff from BAME backgrounds to celebrate their achievements, contributions, values and experiences of working in the NHS.

We want to inspire and share the pride people have in their heritage and culture – in their own way, in their own words.

Please tell us what you are proud to be e.g.:
  • Proud to be me
  • Proud to be a black nurse in the NHS
  • Proud to be an ally
  • Proud to work for RWT

The campaign aims to make Black History Month 2021 personal and unique to individuals, families and communities, focusing on how we’re all making history all the time in our own ways, as well as the contributions and achievements of Black people throughout history.

Submit your testimonial along with a photo to rwh-tr.CommunicationsDept@nhs.net

Ann Hazel, Personal Assistant (Women’s and Neonatal Services)
Black History Month: Ann Hazel

Proud to be…“part of an organisation which has allowed me the opportunity to not just work as a Personal Assistant, but also to become a Contact Link as part of the Freedom to Speak Up Service.  

“My role as a personal assistant and also as a Contact Link has allowed me to be in a position of trust – a confidant to empower staff, to help them find a voice and have strength to face any issue they may encounter.  

“Regardless of gender, regardless of ethnicity, collectively we need to be supportive  of each other.    We want to be part of a safe environment, not just patients and visitors, but also for ourselves.  In so doing, I am proud to be a part of that vision and proactive remit.”

Balvinder Everitt, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Black History Month: Balvinder Everitt

Proud to be…“a second generation Indian woman, mom to my two mixed race daughters, wife to my English husband, and an active advocate of equality and diversity in my personal and professional life for over 20 years.

“I consider myself to be a second generation Indian. My parents moved to the UK from the Punjab in India in 1963, when they were around 12 years old. My grandparents always told us they wanted to come to the UK to seek better opportunities. It was drilled into me from a very young age that we came to the UK to work hard, gain an education and build a better life. Those beliefs of seeking better opportunities and looking after family have stuck with me and have been more of a driver for me in my career and personal life than I ever would have thought. I am proud that I am in a senior role in the NHS working in equality so I can shape, influence, and advocate for a fairer and more inclusive workplace.

“I am also proud that as a society we are become more inclusive and accepting of one another regardless of our cultural differences, and hope for a future where the ethnic back ground, gender, disability status, or sexuality of my children will be viewed with positivity regardless of their protected characteristics. For me Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate who we are, and where we come from, in order that we can create a vision for a more inclusive tomorrow.”

Christopher Innerarity,  Pharmacy Business and Performance Manager / Vice Chair of RWT Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Employee Voice Group
Black History Month: Christopher Innerarity

Proud to be…”a husband and father – something I value meaningfully and would never take for granted. Working for The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) has taught me that not everyone will understand how passionate I am about my work, contribution to society and my God given love in service for people. Born the eldest son in a Caribbean family, I knew from the start I had to lead by example and that I didn’t only represent myself but also my parents, younger siblings and people who would look up to my leadership and unique style.  

“One of my greatest achievements is representing employees as a member of the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Voice Group. I believe that as part of the group, together we honour and celebrate each other’s heritage and culture, achieving all things with God as our guide whilst being better stewards who value all individuals. It is very rewarding as the Vice Chair to work with exemplary colleagues across RWT. This work and commitment has improved many working relationships across the Trust and afforded me the opportunity in working with our executives, management and staff to change negative perceptions whilst building a future for change.

“I am also extremely proud of my professional journey, stepping forward to work as a Cultural Ambassador within RWT. This role will provide assurance that the disciplinary process applied is fair and equitable as well as to identify any organisational cultural issues or bias related to ethnicity, disability or any other protected characteristic. 

“I have seen over the years more being done to support diversity and inclusion as there is no place for discrimination in the workplace. This should never be tolerated and I will be a beacon and voice for everyone. Black History Month represents the freedom of my history, culture, education and an opportunity to engage and express. My role as an advocate for people and families, community development and cultural engagement is something to celebrate and be extremely proud of.”

Leanne Bood, Charity Development Manager
Black History Month: Leanne Bood

Proud to be…“an ally but am also saddened that in 2021 that there is still the need!  

“My uncle arrived in the UK on 12th September 1967 when he was 11 years old and went on to marry my Auntie (who is white British). They have two children together and growing up in the 80s, I remember the disgusting racist remarks from neighbours when we played together in the street - sadly some them were also children themselves. I would like to think that things are a lot different now and attitudes are changing but there is still more we can do.  

“I enjoy living in the diverse city of Wolverhampton – a collaboration of music, fashion, culture and definitely food! We should be celebrating diversity and learning from each other. I look forward to a time when the Black History Month original initiative itself is eventually no longer required.”

Neelam Mehay, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian
Black History Month: Neelam Mehay

Proud to be…”a British Indian woman from Wolverhampton.

“I was born, raised and achieved my undergraduate degree here in Wolverhampton. I have grown up and gained most of my life experience within a deprived, multi-cultural social and school environment. I am proud of this because as a British-Asian female growing up in the late 80s early 90s it was difficult to find my place with the demands and expectations of the ‘Punjabi Indian community’ versus the challenges of educating myself and focusing on my career development and of course – being me! Despite this I persevered and volunteered after graduating with AWAAZ, an Asian women’s advisory organisation in Wolverhampton. I was later appointed as an Asian Health Development worker which gave me great satisfaction as I was able to contribute to the health inequalities agenda (which is what I based my dissertation on). 

I later worked for Wolverhampton City Council, Transport and Regeneration Department; supporting the redevelopment and re-design of Blakenall Gardens (Dudley Road, Wolverhampton) which for me was such a privilege as this was where I grew up and I was now able to influence the plans for regeneration right in my own community. More recently being able to influence Freedom to Speak Up at a national and regional level have been great achievements  but to be able to make a difference through Freedom to Speak Up interventions here at RWT my home grown town are amongst my greatest accomplishments.”

Junior Hemans, Non-Executive Director
Black History Month: Junior Hemans

Proud to be…”a part of the campaign that encourages and supports individuals to learn and understand about our respective cultures. Where we can honestly challenge perceptions, prejudices,  and racism. 

“As a Trust we are improving and by demonstrating the right behaviours and understanding we in turn are helping society improve for the better. 

“Black history is important for all of us to understand the historical challenges and contributions to a world we all currently enjoy.”

Simone James, Occupational Therapy
Black History Month: Simone James

Proud to be…”a black female Occupational Therapist within the NHS.”

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham