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Black History Month blog: how ECB is striving to make cricket an inclusive place for all

ECB's first EDI Director Pamela Brown discusses how the governing body is working to improve equality, diversity and inclusion across the game.

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Black History Month blog: how ECB is striving to make cricket an inclusive place for all

Dynamos Cricket is helping introduce children aged 8-11 to cricket

In September, Pamela Brown was appointed as the ECB’s first EDI Director. In celebration of Black History Month, Pamela shares her thoughts, experiences, and future ambitions for a game-wide commitment to making cricket an inclusive place for all.

“What has brought me to this point, working at the ECB, is lifelong learning from a range of roles, people I have met and a wide range of influences that have equipped me to help make positive changes, to truly make cricket a game for everyone.

“The ECB, like many other organisations, will be challenged in its commitment to be equitable, diverse and inclusive. Whilst we still have a long way to go, in the short time I have been here I have encountered a deep commitment to making the changes needed and a desire to challenge the status quo. It’s this collective commitment and drive that will help shape the future narrative of the game.

“As Black History Month begins, with varying meanings to different people within the black and bi-racial community, pride is expressed in a variety of ways. For many, Black History Month is a way of reflecting on the diverse histories of those from African and Caribbean descent, taking note of the achievements and contributions to the social, sport, political, scientific, economic and cultural development of the UK. 

“Its importance cannot be underestimated as history shapes our lives and influences our views. However, Black History Month is not without its opponents. Some argue that it's impossible to teach black history in the space of one month, and that this is tokenism – there should be great advocation for integration into the mainstream education system. As such, it’s encouraging to see Wales leading the way as the first UK nation to make it compulsory for every child to be taught about the history and experiences of people from black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds. We need to ensure it is a continuous process where we are faced with information and education that challenge our world view. At the ECB we will continue that education both internally and externally and shine the light on EDI in all we do - not just in this month of celebration.

“A colleague once compared that need for education and change to a hose pipe. Imagine you are watering the garden (if you are lucky enough to have one) and the water doesn’t come out - you go ‘kink’ hunting with purpose and intent. You find a big ‘kink’, you straighten it out, but the water still doesn’t run clear.  It’s then you realise that there are lots of kinks in the hosepipe and until we recognise and tackle them all, the water won’t run clear.

“A hero of mine - who I was lucky enough to meet as an undergraduate - was James Baldwin. He was born in 1924 in Harlem and was an openly gay black author and activist. Having said that, he would probably disapprove of the description as he despised arbitrary labels. His political writing and activism gained him another label - that of radical. But for me, I simply want to applaud the man whose gems of wisdom stay with me and for the intellect that still challenges my thinking.

“A television interviewer once asked Baldwin to describe the challenges he faced starting his career as "a black, impoverished homosexual," to which Baldwin laughed and replied in a satirical manner, "I thought I'd hit the jackpot."

“We are never just one thing, we have a multitude of facets all of which need to be embraced and celebrated. I look forward to working together to make cricket a game that is relevant and where people from all backgrounds feel both welcomed and have a sense of belonging.”

Over the coming months, the ECB will be celebrating all members of our cricketing community through sharing the positive work happening at all levels of the game. Throughout Black History Month, across the ECB and England Cricket social channels (see below), we will be sharing stories from members of our black and bi-racial cricket family and what they are ‘Proud to Be’ – we’d love to hear yours.

Twitter: @ecb_cricket and @englandcricket

Facebook: ECB and England Cricket

Instagram: @englandcricket

#BHM #BlackHistoryMonth

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