Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire UK Opens World War Exhibit on Contribution of Sikhs

STAFFORDSHIRE, UK—Today has seen the announcement of a collaborative partnership between The Burton Caribbean Association (BCA), the East Staffordshire Rights and Equality Council (ESREC), Burton and South Derbyshire College (BSDC), the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) and the National Sikh Museum Derby, who have teamed up to creatively celebrate Black History Month in October.

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The group of organisations have designed a special collaborative project celebrating the contribution of Black and Ethic Minority people in the First World War. The project, which will run throughout the months of October and November, will see Burton and South Derbyshire College students utilising National Memorial Arboretum resources to create an exhibition that demonstrates how individuals and groups from a diverse range of backgrounds helped the allied forces achieve victory in the Great War. The exhibition will be showcased at Burton and South Derbyshire College throughout the month of October, moving to the National Memorial Arboretum for December 2014.

Speaking of the project, Vice Principal of BSDC, John Beaty said: “We are really excited about this project and the opportunity it offers to our Public Services students – many of which want to secure a future career in the armed forces. Giving them access to the wide and ranging documents and materials at the Arboretum will, not only allow them to create an exhibition linking Black History Month to World War One, but it will allow them to explore, understand and celebrate the significant contribution made during this time by individuals from a range of communities and backgrounds.”

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Aysha Afridi, Head of Heritage and Learning at the NMA commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for all of our visitors to see the different contributions made to the war effort by people from across the British Empire and beyond. The National Memorial Arboretum has a wide range of memorials which link to World War One, and this is a valuable chance for us to engage in more in-depth discussion about Black and Minority Ethnic participation in that conflict.

“We will be hosting the exhibition the students have created from December 1st 2014 to January 1st 2015, and we hope that all visitors will find it an interesting and stimulating addition to their visit to the Arboretum. We will also be hosting community groups from across East Staffordshire on 11th and 18th October, where the groups will have a guided tour of the site and the chance to explore the Arboretum in their own time. We hope this will be the first of many visits for these groups, and we look forward to welcoming them, and our other visitors, in the coming months.”

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Amir Kabal, Director of ESREC, added: “As a group of organisations, we have been successfully marking Black History Month celebrations for many years. Andrew Griffiths MP, who is our honorary president, last year suggested we link these celebrations with Word War One centenary celebrations in recognition of the sacrifices made by the Commonwealth forces during WW1. We are particularly focusing on contributions, commitments, dedications and sacrifices of soldiers and volunteers from the African Caribbean and Asian subcontinents. The National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum from Derby and the artist David ‘Stickman’ Higgins will trace the historical links to WW1.

“This will be an ideal opportunity for all of us to understand, learn and share the contribution and sacrifices of the brave commonwealth soldiers who laid down their lives in protection of our freedom that we enjoy today. We are pleased to be involved in this unique partnership to mark the Black History Month celebrations and WW1 centenary.”

Angela Bailey, Centre Administrator for the Burton Caribbean Association, said: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with other organisations that are working in the advancement of knowledge that highlights the brave actions of the many that supported the cause of freedom everywhere. Projects such as this showcasing the proud heritage of ethnic minority community’s efforts during the WW1 enables us to reflect and empower current generations to become strong through unity.”

The National Memorial Arboretum are offering members of the Black and Minority Ethnic Community a chance to visit the Arboretum for a free guided tour on Saturday the 11th and 18th October 2014 as part of the project. To book your place, contact ESREC on 01283 510456 or email [email protected].


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