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A history student at Goldsmiths is leading a campaign to remember the untold legacies of Black and Global Nations from the First and Second World Wars.
Student Selena Carty is the founder of BlackPoppyRose, a remembrance organisation dedicated to sharing the histories of people from African, Black peoples, West Indian, Caribbean, Pacific Island and Indigenous Nations communities.
BlackPoppyRose produces BlackPoppyRose Remembrance pins and wreaths to help support a visual remembrance as well as running workshops and education sessions to help spread awareness of these stories. This includes an event at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich which is taking place on Remembrance Sunday this year.
Selena said: “We are encouraging the world to remember legacies past and to heal many of the traumas we still endure to this day. The impact of having a symbol of Remembrance that reflects times past, and is inclusive of so many nations, has had a monumental impact on young people in the UK.
“They have been able to define a sense of value and relevance to life, which they were unaware they were missing. As rather than being told their place, or put in a place, they have been able to identify a place within times past and become confident about what the future can hold for them.
“BlackPoppyRose was created to educate and empower communities who have and continue to feel displaced as a result of the worlds that have been created, moulded and presented in a way that one method suits all. This is not and has never been the case.”
Selena, from Brixton in South London, founded BlackPoppyRose in 2010. She is currently studying for an undergraduate degree in History with Military History at Goldsmiths.
As well as marking the First and Second World Wars, the organisation remembers the contributions made in various wars since the 16th century, with the ambition that future generations will be inspired by the largely untold historical legacies.
Remembrance pins and wreaths can be purchased from the organisation’s website with postal delivery by 11 November if you order by Tuesday 8 November. BlackPoppyRose is a Community Interest Company, which is a form of social enterprise, with all funds raised going back into the running of the organisation.
Selena will be leading an Armistice Day event at Goldsmiths, laying a BlackPoppyRose wreath at the First and Second World War memorial on campus, and is the keynote speaker and organiser of Remembrance Day: A Call to Mind, a day of free public events at the Queen’s House, National Museums Greenwich, on Remembrance Sunday, 13 November 2022.
Selena said: “Remembrance is key to all our identities. BlackPoppyRose is a method to ignite conversations that allow us to fill in many of the gaps that exist in people’s memories and education. We are empowered by history especially when we understand our place within it. With the capacity to explore what that looks like to us today, together.”
She added: “Knowing that you too have a connection to a common historical event is encouraging to several communities who have broken histories. To be rooted in understanding that so much has been sacrificed by our ancestors to enable the liberties we experience today. We continue to do our part to liberate minds and hearts to the ensure that the visibility of all is a consistent feature.”