Urswick student’s Black History Month flag raised above Hackney Town Hall

High standard: Malaika holds up her winning design. Photograph: Hackney Council

A young artist from Urswick School has spoken of her pride at seeing her Black History Month flag flying over Hackney Town Hall.

Year 9 student Malaika Parillon Langlais Baron’s design beat out 75 other entries in a year-long competition to find a flag for the annual black history festival.

Her effort was picked out by a panel of judges, who praised its distinctiveness, colour, and the way it celebrates the present and future while honouring the past.

Throughout October, the country will play host to hundreds of events in recognition of the contributions made by African and Caribbean communities to local and national life.

Hackney Council has gone a step further and created black history season, with events running into next year.

Hackney Speaker Cllr Clare Potter (right) gets ready to hoist the flag. Photograph: Hackney Council

Malaika, who joined Hackney Speaker Cllr Clare Potter to lift her flag to full mast, said: “I feel a sense of pride seeing my flag design fly over the Town Hall. I hope it will draw attention to black history and inspire others.”

Urswick headteacher Richard Brown said: “Black History Month is one of the most important parts of the school year as it allows us to celebrate the unique contribution black people have made, and will continue to make, to our community and society in general.

“As a school we are located close to the Town Hall and Mare Street. It will be fantastic to see a flag designed by an Urswick student flying proudly from the Town Hall during this month.

“We will all be inspired by Malaika’s work.”

Pride of place: the flag waving over the Town Hall. Photograph: Hackney Council

Speaker Cllr Potter added: “This flag represents Hackney and the contribution that African and Caribbean communities have made both locally and across the globe.

“Malaika’s highly creative design embodies a sense of pride and is an important symbol for the borough and for our black history celebrations.”

Hackney Council is running a multitude of free events at venues including Hackney Museum, Hackney Archives, Youth Hubs and libraries until January 2018.

There will be exhibitions, film screenings, book readings, arts and crafts, music workshops and more – although some require advance booking.

For more information, pick up a programme of activities from libraries and other venues across the borough, or visit hackney.gov.uk/black-history 

You can also follow the council’s year-round awareness campaign on Facebook

Real news stories don't come cheap.

The Hackney Citizen is the borough’s only independent newspaper, and is now in its tenth year.

Our hard-hitting journalism has uncovered fire safety failures in tower blocks, revealed plans to criminalise rough sleepers, exposed dodgy letting agents and reported on many other issues of public concern.

We’ve always been totally free in print and online, but advertising revenues are falling.

That’s why we’re asking for your help.

Hackney Citizen’s high quality journalism is produced by a small team on a shoestring budget, so we’re asking you to make a monthly contribution to fund our work, enabling the paper to survive and thrive.

Support the Hackney Citizen from as little as £2 per month.

Can you spare £4 a month or more? Get the paper delivered direct to your door each month! (UK only)