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A&O celebrates Black History Month

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Kerslake Jessica
Jessica Kerslake

Partner

London

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Image of Guled Yusuf
Guled Yusuf

Partner

London

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Image of MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto
MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto

Partner

London

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Rachel Lynette Francis

Media Relations Manager

London

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03 October 2022

October is Black History Month in the UK and this year’s theme is ‘Time for Change: Action not Words’. 

Black History Month is a time to focus attention on the centuries of Black British history, learning more about Black Britons who have made a huge impact over the years, as well as celebrating today’s Black British talent.

Speaking to A&O Partners Jessica Kerslake, Guled Yusuf and MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto, they share why it’s important to commemorate Black History Month.

Jessica Kerslake: “We spend a lot of time focussing on the challenges of being Black in Britain today and whilst we need to keep driving change within A&O and beyond, we also need to celebrate the achievements of Black people in the UK.”

Guled Yusuf: “I am very happy for us to be celebrating Black History Month again. And it means a lot that many colleagues have approached me to ask enthusiastically what we have planned this year as it has become a welcome tradition in the London office.

It has also been fantastic to see the strides we have taken in representation as a firm, but there is more work to be done. To that end, I am pleased to say that, in line with the theme of this year’s Black History Month – Time for Change: Action not Words – we are ensuring the firm and the profession’s future will be more diverse through initiatives like Black Heritage Insight Day for Black and Black-mixed heritage university students interested in a career in law, and our REACH mentoring scheme for colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds to benefit from the experience of more senior mentors.”

As a Black woman in the legal profession I will be the first person to say that we need more role models; people who can show others what is possible. But while we keep striving for more representation in the future, let’s also look around and appreciate all the talented Black leaders who are demonstrating success in the legal world right now.

MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto, Partner

What’s coming up?

At A&O we have an exciting array of internal events planned, which are shining a spotlight on Black talent, past, present and future, looking at those who have turned words into action and are paving the way for the next generation. 

Inspiring the next generation with David Olusoga

Look out for videos on our firm’s social media channels of historian David Olusoga with students from two schools near our London office sharing what they learned at a workshop they took part in at A&O about influential figures in Black British history. 

See it, Be it: The legal role models paving the way for aspiring Black lawyers

Keep an eye out for our celebration of Black talent in senior positions at A&O, peer firms and clients, demonstrating the value of representation and highlighting the progress we’ve made and still need to make across our A&O social channels. 

In conversation with Vanessa Kingori MBE

We’re delighted to be hosting an internal event with Vogue Publishing Director Vanessa Kingori, who will talk about her experience as a Black woman in a senior role in the media, allyship at work and the action we can all take to be more inclusive.

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