An initiative by a voluntary organisation called the NARM (Naming And Role Model) Project appeals for male role models of African descent closer to home at a time when the world has focused on the first African-American President.
In the wake of the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, Brent-based voluntary organisation BTWSC (its acronym is taken from the organisations first project entitled Beyond The Will Smith Challenge), whose remit include raising aspirations, is launching the second phase of the NARM Project with a new website on January 26, where the general public can nominate British African male role models.
BTWSC has been researching the lives of British role models over the last century, starting from 1907. It aims to unearth especially those that engage in community activities.The second phase opens up the research for members of the British public, irrespective of race, gender or age, to send in their nominations. The Project will publish a free booklet, and a DVD consisting of interviews with the most popular living nominees, and mount a photographic exhibition at Brent Museum over the summer.
Weve heard Barack Obama described as the ultimate role model. Whilst not taking anything away from this universally inspirational person, we nevertheless think its important that we, particularly youths of African descent, are aware of male role models from Britain, says Kwaku, consultant of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported project.
Adds Head of HLF London Sue Bowers: “This is an excellent project for a borough that has a high percentage of black and minority ethnic residents. Although there is obviously great attention to black male role models as a result of current political and sporting events, there is also a wealth of other examples over many years which this project will help to illuminate.”
Profiles of the nominees and related resources will be posted at www.btwsc.com/NARM, where nominations can also be posted.
Too often, it is said that there are not enough British male role models of African descent. This is simply not true, says BTWSC co-ordinator Ms Serwah. We do not need to continually look outside Britain, to places like America. Britain has countless role models in various fields, not just in music and entertainment. Many are unsung heroes who are doing their best to improve their communities, and we need to highlight them.
The Project is working with young and adult volunteers in researching and recording testimonies from a number of local and, it is hoped, national figures. It is also running workshops with schools and Brent Archive.
Role models will be chosen from the fields of politics, legal, business, the sciences, the judiciary, education, arts, sports, voluntary organisations and charities. BTWSC has already received support from a wide range of organisations and individuals confirming demand for the Project.
While its important for the Government to do its bit with REACH, we support role modelling projects such as yours, that is done by community organisations, was the endorsement by the Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in support of the NARM Project.
Closing date for nominations which count towards the main ranking list from which living nominees will be interviewed for the DVD and booklet, is February 28. Late nominations will be used in supplementary lists and added to the online resources.
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