Black History Month at Portico

Black History Month
21 October 2022

 October heralds the beginning of 2022’s Black History Month. First celebrated in the UK in 1987, it has been a reoccurring event on our calendars ever since. The month represents the contribution and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage in the United Kingdom. It is also a great opportunity to encourage further education about the effects of racism, and how to challenge negative stereotypes we have within society.

Some key figures in the UK that have been recognised during this time include Malorie Blackman, the bestselling author and first Black Children’s Laureate, Walter Tull, the first Black officer to command White troops in the British Army and one of England’s first Black football players, and in more recent times, Lewis Hamilton, the only Black competitor in Formula One racing as well as a racial advocate activist.

At Portico, we celebrate the diversity of our people and have spoken to some of our colleagues to ask them what Black History Month means to them.

Kicia Bissette-Emanus, Learning and Development manager at Portico said:

“Black History Month isn’t just a month for me because I am Black every day. This is a continued journey and experience for me as a Black woman living and working in London.

“Black History Month is great for highlighting the positives and negatives that can be associated with being not only black, but also a Black woman. Our history is rich, and diverse, holds so much culture, love, colour, vibrancy, and joy. It is important to me that those aspects are celebrated, highlighted, and discussed as frequently; if not more, than some of the negative aspects. It is important to acknowledge, accept and understand past transgressions, as this is the only way to positively move forward and create lasting change and meaningful progression.

“Representation is everything, and it matters! It is vital in showcasing all aspects of what it is to be BLACK and PROUD! I am both.”

Kicia also followed on to say:


“People have always been at the heart of what I do, my career has changed trajectory along the way, but people have always remained at the centre.


“Diversity and inclusion aren’t just something we do because we have to, it is integral to creating progression and advocacy in the workplace and has an impact on the connections we create every day at Portico. This is why it is important to highlight culturally diverse occasions such as BHM.”

Faisa Ahmed, a general manager for Portico, added:


“To me, Black History Month celebrates the culture and contribution of black Africans and Caribbeans to our society. Though the conversations that have been taking place for some time, we need to go a step further and ensure that this topic is covered in all our schools.


“Growing up for me, there were limited role models, and the hope is that generations to come after us will not face the same issue and that we are all given the same opportunities and represented widely across all industries.


“As a Black African female, I have personally never felt that this has held me back from achieving any goals that I’ve had. Although I am aware that others have not been so fortunate. I want to make sure I’m actively contributing to raise awareness, and to support any individuals in overcoming any obstacles they may have.”


Portico wishes everyone an insightful Black History Month this October. For more information, check out the Black History Month website for all the 2022 resource packs and magazine for the month.