Black History Month Southampton Founder Awarded MBE


Black History Month South is delighted to learn and share the brilliant news that founder and Southampton racial justice champion Jayanti Shah (Jay) has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List!!

Jay has devoted his spare time entirely as a volunteer to promote anti-racism both on a local and national level since the 1970s. 50 years of voluntary service to Southampton and the local area.

An uncompromising champion of racial justice, Jay came to Southampton in 1968 to Southampton University. He has campaigned, as a volunteer in Southampton, forracial justice and equality for the past 50 Years.

In the 70s, 80s, and 90s Jay also held prominent positions with the Southampton Race Equality Council; contributed to Race Sub-committee of the City.

Jay has done more than just give a consistent message about anti-racism; he still gets people to listen to the message, as was aptly indicated by his wonderful speech at our BHM launch in 2019

He set up Positive Message Limited which was used to promote and build Black History Month in Southampton since 2005. Jay was part of the team which transformed this into a significant event in the Southampton City calendar; and planned for succession for others to take over in 2015.

We are delighted that the delayed Queen’s Honours has, by happy coincidence, been announced during Black History Month 2020! Let’s celebrate this great news!

“ I have just done what is the right thing to do. Anti-racism is about acting to eliminate racism. Everyone can claim to be non-racist. That is not enough. The beauty of anti-racism is that everyone can be anti-racist. It starts with acknowledgement that throughout life we have influences which make us to attribute behaviour by stereotyping people. We look at the messenger and do not listen to the message. Anti-racism is not about reading books on other cultures, or on anti-racism but it is about challenging our own view and acting on it. Let us not let our neighbours suffer in silence.” Jayanti Shah MBE

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