“The aim of the event is not to exclude anyone but to allow people to have a platform that is not often afforded to them.”
How do you usually celebrate Black History Month? Because this year you can celebrate with the amazing people of UK Vegans Of Colour at their event this weekend (Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th) ! This is a historic, first-time event bringing together the most talented and diverse array of; designers, crafters, artists and culinary creatives. Tickets cost £5 and can be purchased off Eventbrite.
We caught up with Esme and Betty and asked them some questions about UK Vegans Of Colour, so keep on reading if you want to find out about this group of incredible people.
When and why did UK Vegans of Colour begin?
UK Vegans of Colour started in February 2018 with the post caption reading ' I needed a space away from my main/business pages to effectively promote and share businesses, people and events that are far too often overlooked in mainstream veganism or are just starting up and need a hand, to make connections and just get their brands known across the UK and beyond.
Tell us a bit more about the UKVOC Black History Month event.
The theme of UKVOC is diversity in inclusivity. It's often the case that VOC are not centred in events and I wanted this to change. The aim of the event is not to exclude anyone but to allow people to have a platform that is not often afforded to them. We want to showcase talent and diversity that is out there and expose them to a wider audience.
How can people celebrate Black History Month? And how do you think we can get more people to celebrate Black History Month?
Thank you for asking this question, you would be shocked at how many people question their participation in Black History Month. You can celebrate Black History Month by interacting with events put on by Black people during the month. But we would be a little more critical on what it means so celebrate Black history month, as after all, to be black is more than food, art and music. To be black is a continued and sustained experience. That means that if you really want to "celebrate" black history month, you need to be open to having uncomfortable conversations. To celebrate Black history month is to recognise the lengths that black people in this country have gone to make sure that the next generation thrives. To celebrate Black History month is to enjoy all that Black people have brought to this island and listening to black people when they speak. That is why our event is so special, we bring the Black artisans, food and music. We also have panels with activists like Patrick Vernon OBE and Christopher Sebastian who answer the hard hitting questions. We want everyone to have fun and learn.
We can get more people to celebrate Black History Month by being explicit in saying that the month is about more than fun, it also a time to recognise that to move forward we need to look back; unpack, digest and acknowledge that there is still so much that needs to change. But the key is being clear that this can be done as a part of a community.
“In 2 years UKVOC will have introduced the UK to hundreds of businesses owned by minorities.”
What UK vegans of colour would you LOVE to be involved in the event, that aren’t already involved?
Any vegan of colour that recognises the disparity between mainstream veganism and ourselves as people of colour, should want to be involved in what we are doing. This event is not born out of resentment, but rather the continued demand for diversity and inclusion. The extensive list of vendors that we have; the healthcare professionals, the activist, creatives, artisans and speakers are a clear indication that this event was long overdue.
Where do you see UKVOC in 2 years time?
We are optimistic that the first event will spur on our objective of inclusion and diversity. In 2 years UKVOC will have introduced the UK to hundreds of businesses owned by minorities. In 2 years UKVOC will have aided in removing the discomfort the BAME community has with interacting with the health and wellness community, which often feels exclusionary. In 2 years UKVOC will have laid down a sustainable blueprint on how companies should approach the BAME community.