Black History Month: Kelly Liburd


“How do you feel about change, Kelly?”



If you’d asked me that a few years ago, I would have told you that change is exciting. The smile on my face might even have convinced you that I meant it.


In reality, however, I always used to find change unsettling. It was fear of the unknown, the uncertainty that comes with it.


But change is inevitable in so many areas of life. I knew I needed to work on my feelings about it, and I can thankfully now say that, for the most part, change no longer gives me that feeling in the bottom of my stomach. Instead, it fills me with hope and excitement!


To create a more inclusive future, change is required. The question I need to ask myself is: ‘what am I doing to contribute to it?’


The theme for Black History Month this year is Time for Change: Action Not Words.


For me, this represents that it is time to learn from the past to create benefits for the future.


It sounds like a huge task – and for many people, the thought of ‘action’ can be just as daunting as change.


But when I ask myself what action I am taking, I remember that even small actions can add up to create a big difference.


Am I signing petitions to create the change I want to see in the world? Am I challenging behaviours and actions? Am I gaining education and sharing my own knowledge?


The answer is yes, to all those questions. Could I be doing more to play my part in achieving a better world for everyone? Definitely. But every action counts, and it is only inaction that allows inequality to continue.


However, I can’t do this alone. There is great power in numbers, and change will only occur through unity and allyship.


At NHS Professionals, we hope to play our part through a new Race Equality Staff Support Network for corporate employees, which I am Chairing.


In addition to organising special events to mark Black History Month, we will also be meeting with colleagues on a monthly basis to share our experiences and support each other. These will alternate on a monthly basis between being open to all employees including allies, and being just for our ethnic minority staff.


I’m so excited about what we have planned for Black History Month and beyond, and I hope that in our own small way we can contribute to an even more inclusive NHS Professionals and help to benefit wider society too.


There is no doubt that we have challenges to overcome as a society – but now, when you ask me how I feel about change, I smile, and my smile is genuine.


It is a smile of hope.