October is Black History Month (BHM), an annual celebration of the contributions of Black people to British society. To celebrate, we will be featuring interviews with people from within and outside the CPS.
Our fourth interview is with Baljit Ubhey, Director of Strategy and Policy and the Race Champion at the Crown Prosecution Service.
What would you most likely tell yourself at age 13?
Believe in yourself, be confident, work hard, and if things don’t go your way, don’t worry, trust it will all be alright in the end.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
When I was at school, I loved drama, and in fact, my drama teacher said I should do O level drama, but I never thought it was academic enough and I didn’t do it. I absolutely love it, and when I eventually retire I may go to amateur dramatics because I love performing and I’m a show-off!
Why is it important that CPS takes part in Black History Month and engages with staff?
I think it’s important that CPS takes part in Black History Month as it’s a part of our history that sometimes we don’t spend enough time reflecting on or understanding. We are a fairly diverse organisation, so it is important for our staff that we are doing this and that we want to learn more and understand. We know about the disproportionality that exists in the criminal justice system, so striving to be fairer in everything we do, whether that’s our casework or how we treat our people is really important, and taking a moment to think about the history of Black people and their struggles is an important part of that.
What do you hope staff will learn from the activities planned for Black History Month?
The activities are for all staff; if we are going to tackle the challenges that exist today in terms of racism, we need everybody to have an interest and understand these issues. Race is often a sensitive subject to talk about, and the more we have discussions about race and racism, the greater the understanding there will be. I hope more people will be inspired to be active anti-racists from all backgrounds as that is what is going to be necessary if we are going to make profound and lasting changes to reduce racism within society. It will require that collective effort from all staff to want to listen, understand and ask questions.
Which Black person from history or today inspires you?
Nelson Mandela and the way he navigated the change; going from being in prison as an activist to becoming the leader, and the wisdom, kindness and forgiveness that he demonstrated to try and heal the country moving forward was on another scale. I do think that to move forward, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion is important because there is no other way to move forward without those qualities, and he was such an extraordinary exemplar of those qualities so a real inspiration.
Follow this link to read other interviews from our Black History Month interview series.