October is Black History Month, and we’re asking some of our staff members to give their thoughts on the importance of the month.

Karis Quaye

I am one of the new matrons in our emergency department (ED) here at St George’s. I’ve been in the role around four months and I’m really enjoying it so far. The ED here is fantastic and benefits from the wide range of specialities available in the hospital.

Before coming to St George’s, I was a senior sister at the Royal London Hospital, and a sister at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s ED.

As well as a passion for emergency care, I also have a passion for staff health and wellbeing, and I’ve recently taken over the lead on this in our ED. I have previously worked on several successful health and wellbeing projects, and I hope I can do the same for our #TeamED.

What Black History Month means to me:

I feel it’s really important to highlight the ups and downs that have been experienced in Black history. I am half Ghanaian, so this really resonates with me as part of my cultural heritage. Black History Month is an opportunity to enable the history of black people to glow – the good and the bad needs to be highlighted, because this is how we grow and learn as a population.

Some may question why we have Black History Month. For me, it is about taking the extra step to recognise what we don’t necessarily see every day – a celebration of how far we’ve come, and identifying the work we need to do to get to where we need to be. I hope people are able to take time to learn something new about Black history, and that we can make this learning as easy as possible.

One of the most inspirational people that I look up to is Maya Angelou. She gave the world so much wisdom and prose that is still relevant today. Her thoughts and actions were truly inspiring. My favourite quote of hers is: “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”