In conversation with… Margaret Taribo
The theme for Black History Month this year has been ‘Saluting Our Sisters’. Through a series of conversations, we are proud to highlight and platform four inspirational Black women who are creating a lasting impact in their communities, on generations of young people and their families. The interviews explore their personal experiences, inspirations, and motivations, and reflect on why Black History Month is so important.
Today, we spoke to Margaret Taribo who is a Director at Parent Skills2Go, an organisation that provides support services and activities for parents and carers with young children.
Can you tell us about your personal connection to Black History Month and what it means to you as a Black woman in London?
Personally, I didn’t know too much about Black history until I came back to England in my late thirties after leaving when I was nine. Since coming back, I have been very involved in my community, working with young people, community groups and schools and it has been a pleasure to think creatively about how we celebrate Black history and how we can showcase things that make the Black community proud. Black History Month is a condensed celebration and time of education, but we need to ensure that we are sensitive to what it means to be Black not just for this month but for forever.
Who are some Black women in British history who have inspired you and why?
There are quite a few, and so many that are unknown and personal to individuals. It is important to look around you to people doing things in a context that resonates with you, as well as to history. For me, my colleague Jackie, who was the first person to manage me when I came back to the UK and started working in the community, was a big inspiration, she was so supportive and made me feel at home and encouraged me to believe in myself.
There are historical figures as well that are inspiring because they were achieving so much in a time when it would have been very difficult to deal with the challenges around them, such as Fanny Eaton and Mary Seacole.
What quote keeps you going?
“She believed she could, so she did”…being a woman, there have been times where I have had low self-esteem and little confidence. I have had to learn so much in my profession and personally, such as being a mother, we are always learning but this quote reminded me that as long as I believed in myself I could do it.
How can those who aren’t of Black heritage become active allies?
Creating your own awareness, becoming culturally aware by getting into your community and learning from and with others. Empathy is created in these communal spaces, it isn’t about sympathy, we need to be known and understood. It is about understanding people’s individual situations, whether that is personally or from a professional perspective.
As an author, I would also like to be an advocate of my own book, ‘Living Life in a Foreign Land’, as you can educate yourself through stories that recount real life experiences. This book explores the issues of human trafficking and modern day slavery through the story of two young girls and their journey into the UK and their lives after.
What is your go-to meal when cooking for others? What makes it so special for you?
I love food, and food is big part of culture, but one dish would have to be jollof rice, my family love it, all of the children and families that we work with love it. We always have it on the menu for our holiday programmes, it is a meal that everyone seems to enjoy.
As we celebrate Black History Month, ‘Saluting Our Sisters’, what message or legacy would you like to leave for future generations of Black women in London?
I am mentoring young people at the moment and there is a lot going on for them but what I remind these sisters and young women of is, going back to my quote from before, that if you believe you can do it, you will and you owe to yourself to be what you need to be, others will be there to support you but you cannot rely on them to get you to where you need to be, that comes from inside you.