We use cookies to ensure that we can give you the best user experience. By continuing to use our website you are consenting to their use. Find out more.

What language do you need?

Spotlight on Usdaw’s Women Activists

Maureen Loxley MBE

Why do you think Black history is often overlooked or do you think it’s talked about enough?
Black history has been overlooked for too long. That’s why Black History Month is so important. It gives Black people like me a chance to understand the contribution our predecessors made to this country. Our contribution shouldn’t just be confined to one month in the year, it needs to be recognised throughout the year.

This year the focus of Black History Month is celebrating inspiring Black women – which Black women have inspired you in your life?
The person who inspired me most was my mum. She was fantastic growing up and was always there for us. She instilled in us a great work ethic and how we should always strive to better ourselves and our communities.

What is your proudest achievement?
My children, my husband and my MBE!
 

Su Patel

Why do you think Black history is often overlooked or do you think it’s talked about enough?
The achievements and struggles of Black people are easily forgotten. That’s why Black History Month is so important. It helps us remember the contributions and sacrifices Black people made for this country. Black people still face discrimination and we can learn from the people who came before us and fought for our rights.

This year the focus of Black History Month is celebrating inspiring Black women – which Black women have inspired you in your life?
Rosa Parks inspires me. By refusing to give up her seat on the bus she sparked the Civil Rights Movement. The other person who inspires me is my mum. She came over to this country when there were hardly any Asian people here and she barely spoke English. Yet despite that she made a good life for her and her family, she was only 20 at the time.

What is your proudest achievement?
Becoming a union rep. When I became a rep hardly any Black or Asian people stood to be reps. But thanks to the work the union has been doing this is slowly changing.
 

Indu Merwaha

Why do you think Black history is often overlooked or do you think it’s talked about enough?
This month gives us the opportunity to honour the legacy of Black leaders. It helps us highlight the vast contribution made by the Black community and celebrate the influence of Black culture.

This year the focus of Black History Month is celebrating inspiring Black women – which Black women have inspired you in your life?
There is a long list of inspiring black women who changed the course of history and paved the way for other women. I personally salute their legacy, their struggles and their hardships. My favourite is Oprah Winfrey.

What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is that I was a very successful co-ordinator for a Black and Asian Women’s Day Centre for 18 years.
 

Janet Hankin

Why do you think Black history is often overlooked or do you think it’s talked about enough?
Black history should be celebrated throughout the year and not just during one month. However, it is important to celebrate the achievements of Black people as we need positive role models for our children. We need to inspire the next generation and show them that despite the adversities faced by Black people they too can make a difference and change the world.

This year the focus of Black History Month is celebrating inspiring Black women – which Black women have inspired you in your life?
Rosa Parks for sparking off the civil rights movement. Maya Angelou for her inspirational poetry and Michelle Obama who encourages young black girls to stand up and be counted.

What is your proudest achievement?
I’m really proud that I’ve been a rep for 20 years. My involvement in the union and its structures like the divisional equalities forums shows my kids that you don’t have to accept racism, that you can call out and challenge injustices where you see them.

Free prize draw

Enter our free prize draw to win a £100 Love2Shop Gift Voucher courtesy of Usdaw Protego.

The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers