Published on 29th September 2023

Pan African flag flying at Municipal Offices

The pan-African flag will fly from the Municipal Offices from 2 October for the month, to mark Black History Month.

This is the second year that the flag has been flown, as a symbol to recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of black people to our society. 

Black History Month also serves as an opportunity to inspire and empower future generations and this year in Cheltenham, local schools took part in the ‘My Voice’ competition, launched by Cheltenham Alliance for Race Equity

The challenge was for young people to tell their stories of what it is like to live in Cheltenham through writing a speech or making a picture. 12 monologues and 2 pictures were selected and the young people will present them at Cheltenham Literature Festival, on Saturday 7 October, 10.30am on the Huddle Stage.

The free event, called My Voice, My Cheltenham is open to all with no need to book tickets and there will be the chance to take away a copy of the anthology of the monologues and pictures. The event will be hosted by Hiva Hesso, and will feature poetry performances by local poet Chloe Jacquet. 

Cheltenham Alliance for Race Equity worked with Cheltenham Borough Council, Cheltenham Festivals, VOICEBOX and the Everyman Theatre.

Florence Nyasamo Thomas, of Lives of Colour and chair of Cheltenham Alliance for Race Equity said: “It is nine years since we started these events in Cheltenham and it is great to focus this year on the voices of young people in our local schools, who have dedicated their time to draw and write about their experiences of living here.”

Cllr Flo Clucas, cabinet member for safety and communities at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to support this challenge as part of celebrating Black History Month. We’re proud of all of the young people who took part and congratulate those whose work is shared in this booklet and on stage at Cheltenham Literature Festival.

“We want everyone to feel at home in Cheltenham and hearing different perspectives is key to helping to make it a safe and welcoming place to live.”

Emma Whittle, programming lead at Cheltenham Festivals, continued: “It has been a privilege for the festivals to be part of a challenge that celebrates the experiences of young people in our community, and we are delighted they will be sharing their stories at our literature festival in October.

“We’re committed to bringing joy, sparking curiosity, connecting communities and inspiring change through its work year-round, and empowering young people through arts and culture is central to this.”

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