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Influential figures shaping Black history and the future

For Black History Month, Madano shares stories about people in the BAME community who inspire us and are addressing unique challenges faced by the community. As part of this, we are supporting Black Minds Matter who offer free mental help support to members of the BAME community.

Black Minds Matter

Black Minds Matter

Black Minds Matter UK was founded by Agnes Mwakatuma and Annie Nash in 2020 with the aim of connecting the Black British community with Black mental health professionals and removing the financial barriers to accessing support. The vision of BMMUK is to make mental health topics more accessible to people seeking therapy and relevant to the professional.

In August 2020; two months after BMMUK was set up; the waiting list for access to therapists had to be closed so the charity could manage the 2,600 applications it received. Since December 2020 BMMUK has been providing access to therapy for the Black British community, has close links to nearly 100 mental health professionals and is rethinking the way mental health services are provided to Black people in the UK.

Find out more about ‘Black Minds Matter’ here:

Marsha P Johnson (1945 – 1992)

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha “Pay it no mind” Johnson was a trans-rights activist most famous for her role in important moments for the LGBTQ+ movement, particularly for being one of the central figures in the Stonewall riots of June 1969 in which many members of the LGBTQ+ community fought back against police harassment and violence.

A strong advocate for gay and trans rights, Marsha P. Johnson also formed Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an organisation that supported homeless transgender youth and sex works in Manhattan. She was later an activist with the organisation AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) where she actively supported and helped those suffering from AIDS whilst she herself was also HIV positive.

Today Marsha’s legacy lives on, both through those she impacted and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, whose mission is to end violence against all trans people across the U.S., especially black trans women.

Find out more about the Marsha P. Johnson Institute here:

Black in Cancer

Founders of Black in Cancer

Founded by cancer researchers, Dr Henry J. Henderson III and Sigourney Bonner, Black in Cancer is shaping the future in the healthcare and wellbeing sectors by empowering the next generation of scientists and advocating for inclusivity and equal opportunities in the research field.

With visibility and representation of Black people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) seriously lacking, support networks such as Black in Cancer (one of the many initiatives motivated by the “Black in X” movement) are key in increasing the representation of Black scientists in cancer research and building a strong network to empower and showcase Black excellence in the field.

Dr. Henry J. Henderson III is a cancer biologist and health-promotion advocate, and Sigourney Bell is a third-year graduate student at the University of Cambridge at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. So far, the Black in Cancer organisation has hosted multiple events and conferences, as well as the Pipeline and Mentorship programmes to raise awareness, educate, and inspire the future generation of leaders in the multifaceted field of cancer research.

Find out more about ‘Black in Cancer’ here:

Leanne Pero

Leanne Pero

Leanne Pero was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer aged just 30. As she navigated the NHS throughout her many appointments and treatments, it became clear to her that BAME cancer patients were underrepresented in mainstream media.

She saw charities and brand run annual cancer campaigns that failed miserably at representing the experiences and appearances of the BAME community. Within her own community, she saw unhelpful myths and taboos surrounding cancer, leading to a lack of awareness about signs and symptoms, ultimately leading to late-stage diagnosis.

Leanne decided to create her own platform, Black Women Rising, to provide vital support for Black cancer patients and survivors as they navigate their cancer journeys – offering advice, mental health support and much more.

The project also created the UK’s first all-Black cancer portrait exhibition which toured London’s Southbank, the Oxo Tower and had an exhibit at the Tate Gallery in 2021.

Leanne’s tagline is simple: empowered women empower women. She’s a wonderful example for us all.

Find out more about Black Women Rising UK here: https://www.blackwomenrisinguk

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