Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association
Role models, celebrations and education with England’s leading IT20 wicket-taker.
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker in T20 Internationals, Chris Jordan, has taken time out from World Cup preparations to look at Black History Month with the PCA.
The Surrey T20 captain is an inspiration for young and old cricket followers due to his consistent performances in domestic and international cricket and the 34-year-old wants to help create role models for young Black people to aspire to be the next generation of cricketers.
October is Black History Month in the UK, this gives everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact that Black heritage and culture has had on our country.
People from African and Caribbean backgrounds have been a fundamental part of British history for centuries and campaigners believe their value and contribution to society is often overlooked, ignored or distorted.
Recently, greater attention has been paid to the month’s celebrations following the Windrush generation scandal and the Black Lives Matter movement since the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
In October 2022, the theme focuses on Black health and wellness, and throughout the month, the PCA is speaking to members of Black origin to provide insight on what the month means to them.
The man with 124 caps and 156 wickets for his country sat down with his players’ association…
- What is your family heritage and what does Black History Month mean to you?
- My family is of Black origin and we are from the Caribbean. I was born in Barbados and Black History Month is a nice time for us to come together as a people and recognise achievements worldwide. I always believe it shouldn’t just be a month, it is nice to have a dedicated month but it should be 24/7, 365 days a year. This month does recognise the achievements of different athletes and people from Black origins around the world. Growing up in a country where a higher percentage of people are of the same colour skin as you and coming over to London at a very young age, that is one thing that sticks out straight away so growing up was very different.
- What is your memorable moment in Black history?
- There are so many moments but one that sticks out for me is the Black Lives Matter movement. It was really amazing to be honest. Historically, there are so many moments where significant events took place regarding Black history but for me to be in a generation and involved in that experience in real time was very moving. Momentum was gained thereafter and the conversations started to take place all of a sudden with people starting to dig deeper into history and starting to realise that so many Black people were pioneers around the world and in history and it definitely gives me goosebumps thinking about it, that made me even more proud to be a Black person.
- Who was your inspirational Black role model growing up?
- Being interested in sport from a young age I’d have to say Michael Jordan. I’m really interested in all sports so I used to watch college basketball, baseball, ice hockey, you name it. Anything that was on television I would watch. I used to watch a lot of NBA with my uncle and my mum and MJ was that leading character. To be such a superstar and role model to set examples while dominating his sport was phenomenal for me at a young age to see the type of athlete he was.
- If you could celebrate one Black cricketer in history in Black History Month, who would it be?
- I’d celebrate Jofra Archer. He took a similar route to me in leaving Barbados at a young age, coming over and finding his way in the county game initially and then such a short space of time became a hero in the England team. You instantly think of the World Cup final, such a memorable moment and tears almost came to my eyes when I watched that game unfold. It is well documented that we are very, very close, he is basically family to me so I’d like to celebrate him.
- How important is it to educate general society on Black history in Britain?
- Education is super important but it can’t just be during Black History Month, it’s something that has to be daily, weekly and yearly. Education can come in so many different forms. That can come from formal education where people are forced to sit down and hear more about Black history and important milestones from the past. However, I think it’s equally important to continue those everyday conversations and to keep educating people on the importance on equality and the more we can have those conversations, the better place the world will be. I still think there’s a very long way to go but ultimately you have to start somewhere and this is the start of trying to shift the landscape and continue with that education for everybody to allow people to understand the importance of equality.
- The theme of Black History Month 2022 is Black Health and Wellness, recognising the achievements of Black health and wellness practitioners. How do you think we as a sport should meaningfully celebrate Black History Month?
- We can celebrate by championing achievements constantly and continuing to educate the world. With the beast that social media is and the type of information that can be placed into society, we need to recognise achievements worldwide. It’s all about creating role models and having people for the next generation to look up to. We want young Black people to think that they have the chance and feel motivated to pursue their goals because that’s what it’s about. We want to allow the next generation to feel confident that they can reach the top because they see people of the same skin colour as them doing it on a day to day basis so that is helping to educate the world. Some people listen and some people won’t but you cannot not do it just because you feel some people will not listen, you need to consistently get the messages out there to keep provoking thoughts and conversations so that we can continue to change the landscape. There is not one thing in particular, it has to be a combination of a lot of things and the small victories will continually move the needle and change the landscape worldwide.