BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2023: COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT ON KRIS BROWN
This month we are celebrating Black History Month UK with Birmingham Pride & SHOUT Festival. Follow us as we shine a spotlight on the incredible LGBTQ+ black individuals making moves in our community, as well as businesses, events and resources in our vibrant city.
Meet Kris (they/them)
Tell us about yourself Kris!
My name is Kris Brown, and I am a group facilitator at Birmingham LGBT Centre. Prior to working at the centre, I worked in Social Care as a children’s behavioural therapist. I am passionate about working in my community to provide and highlight services that often aren’t readily available for LGBT-POC. My passion is mind body wellness and holistic healing. I integrate holistic techniques (breathwork and sound bowl therapy) with talk therapy to promote healing throughout the nervous system. Along with the group work I do at the centre, I’ve collaborated with West Midlands police in their Hate Crime Awareness Campaign. I’m also a trained medical massage therapist and am currently working with some local women’s charities in Birmingham to start hosting some infant massage workshops for young mothers/single mothers to help assist in the bonding process between them and their children.
When I’m not working or focused on charity work, I am an avid poet and passionate photo hobbyist (amateur photographer). I’ve performed at open mics with Birmingham mind and am about to start recording a poetry demo album.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
When I think about Black History Month, the first thing that comes to mind is Martin Luther King’s “Dream” speech, Malcolm X’s activism and Rosa Parks taking a stand, by not moving to the back of the bus. While these individuals may seem outdated and historical, I’m still saddened by the fact that there hasn’t been a lot of progress since learning about these historical figures in my childhood years. People like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (among others) are more recent martyrs within the Black Lives Matter movement, and it shows that there is still so much work to be done when it comes to equality. This is why safe spaces are so important for POC/LGBT-POC. Black History Month doesn’t mean much to me on paper – I’m black every day and feel that our voices, opinions and life experiences should matter regardless of the time of year. To me, Black History Month is an opportunity for non-POC to show their support and solidarity towards POC by providing more inclusionary services and resources across the board. Black History Month is an opportunity for non-POC to advocate for their POC neighbours and evaluate any conscious or subconscious discrimination/prejudice they might hold against POC. I am a proud black nonbinary mental health professional and I put myself in positions to be seen and to be an advocate for my community because it’s not often that POC are recognised or celebrated for the work they do until it’s too late. Black History Month is an opportunity to make myself more visible so I can continue to network and partner up with other organisations that highlight or cultivate services specifically for POC.