October is Black History Month, an annual celebration of the contributions of Black people to British society. Read here to see how we have celebrated Black History Month. Join us as we continue our Black History Month celebrations with interviews featuring people within and outside the CPS.
Our second interview is with Grace Moronfolu MBE, who is the Inclusion and Community Engagement Manager at CPS East Midlands, Chair of the National Black Crown Prosecution Association (NBCPA) and Deputy Chair of the Civil Service Race Forum.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I would be a sculptor using mixed methods and materials.
What would you most likely tell yourself at age 13?
You are clever, valuable and can do anything you set your mind to.
What do you think about when you hear ‘Black History Month’?
To me, it is a time to focus, draw attention and celebrate the contributions and resilience of Black people in the UK and globally.
What does being a Black person mean to you?
I resent being labelled although I fully acknowledge the ‘Black’ experience of being marginalised and treated unfairly.
Which Black person from history or today inspires you?
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a Nigerian suffragist, and women’s rights activist. In the 1940s, she fought for women’s rights in Nigeria, demanding representation of women in local government and an end to unfair taxes on market women. She led marches and protests and helped ensure Nigerian women got the right to vote. She was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.
I like to think I walk in her footsteps.
Why is it important for the CPS to celebrate Black History Month?
Society works from the contribution of all members. When the CPS celebrates Black history, it acknowledges and publicly reinforces its commitment to its equality and diversity.
What do you hope staff will learn from the activities planned for Black History Month?
Various activities are happening in the CPS to celebrate Black History Month. The CPS is a microcosm of the communities we serve. We have seen from the NBCPA’s antiracism survey that BAME staff continue to suffer from ‘acceptable racism’ and micro hostilities all the time. The impact of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination prevalent at in the workplace places us under unacceptable levels of stress and disadvantage.
The NBCPA hosted a variety of events for staff to address some of these issues. We ran a series of events called reset, restore recover to help colleagues understand how discrimination and emotional trauma can affect behaviour at work. We have also hosted events for the broader community that still do not know what the CPS does to compliment the CPS community engagement objectives. Our hate crime awareness event attracted almost 170 delegates.
The NBCPA is also drawing attention to the CPS leadership role in the administration of youth justice through an event we hosted on 20 October called ‘Finding justice in the youth justice system’ which highlighted the disparity of outcome for BAME and poorer working-class children. The NBCPA is also showcasing and raising up our white associate members and giving them a platform to discuss their experiences and challenges standing up to racist and other prejudicial behaviour in the workplace. This event has drawn international attention.
I hope that CPS colleagues and NBCPA members will realise that we all have leadership roles in creating the changes we want to see that align with our CPS vision and values.