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DCS celebrate BHM with the 'quiet' and the fallen heroes amongst us......

2020 is and remains the year that has challenged so many of us and yet, has produced so many ‘positive firsts’ and ‘twists of fate’, some less cringeworthy than others, but ALL requiring the attention that they individually deserve. Business as usual [or, as we knew it], has unquestionably changed forever. There is no going back to a pre-COVID normal, not even for those of use that truly want to.

Credit: Getty Images

Starting with another [annual] reflection on Remembrance Sunday, which, in advance of Armistice Day on 11/11] brings to the fore, the significance of the loss of life caused, principally, to the ever-disastrous necessity, called war. That the world continues to assume this path to attempt to resolve both domestic, global disputes and other economic issues, has and will continue to inflict and cause painful memories for millions of families that have lost loved ones 'in the line of duty'.

Vast number of individuals were recruited from across the British Empire and listed to support the various war efforts, with particular reference to the first World War. Notwithstanding, it was however, at the specific request of King George V, that a two minute silence – from 11am – began in Britain, commencing on 11 November 1919, exactly a year after World War One had 'officially' been brought to an end. He made the request to affirm and uphold that “the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead”.

That many of these lost souls were from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic [i.e. BAME] population is one reason why, at least for the former group of soldiers, the wearing of the Black poppy came into existence. Several variations exist and this year, like never before, there has been a proliferation of digital poppies amidst the almost complete silence occupied at the London Cenotaph due to current social distancing rules and an inability, by the general public, to attend the annual event in person.

A precis and reflection of Black History Month 2020

Commencing on the 1st October and ending on 31st October 2020, the month long, annual event was designed to bring critical observation and understanding to the Black #livedexperience in the UK. For many it is a unique opportunity to look forward and celebrate ‘the here and now’ as well as dwell on the future possibilities. It is also rather conveniently a sensitive time for many given that their memories of the past, continue to bring traumatic experiences, that with the passage of time, have only become more painful and intense. Some things [and memories], simply cannot be forgotten.

You can also observe the various statements / perspectives, penned by the current political UK leaders…

PM Boris Johnson _ Conservative

Sir Kier Starmer _ Labour

Ed Davey _ Liberal Democrats

The team at DiverseCity Surveyors 'DCS' undertoook and collaborated with a series of BHM Events, overseen by an inaugural effort and daily commitment to shine a light on the 'quiet' #gamechangers across the global Surveying profession, duly acknowledged by the Senior Management and PR Teams at RICS

For many in the Black and wider built environment, the ease of reference to those individuals that are doing and/or achieving amazing things in their own 'quiet' way, is [and has been] consistently overlooked by the global Surveying profession. This year, DCS began with an idea, conceived by Founder & Chairman, Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS, which sought to shining a leading light, much closer to home.

So many Surveyors, young, middle-management and senior level C-Suites individuals, are and have been doing some amazing things. In a post-George Floyd era, Bola felt it was even more important to commend and highlight some of the many individuals across the globe. The DCS Heroes BHM2020 ‘Quiet Gamechangers’ featured a targeted campaign and hosted a number of Surveyors, all of whom have made [or have intention to make] a tangible contribution to the lives of others and the wider and evolving workflow(s) of DCS. Listed below, the various professionals profiled – spanning across four, weekly themes – can be seen across our social media footprint, including our new DiverseCity Surveyors page on LinkedIn

Black Females in Surveying

Dr Diane Dumashie FRICS

Veleta Brown MRICS

Deidre Toussaint MRICS

Ally Reid MRICS

Michaela Bygrave MRICS

Melissa Madjitey MRICS

Sheila Kaijuka MRICS

Black Men in Surveying

Bernard Osei MRICS

Learie Gonsalves MRICS

Uche Obi FRICS

Nii Klotey Quaye MRICS

Rising Stars in Surveying

Ayodele Faleye MNIQS

Annette Oke MRICS

Sunny-Thomas Obasuyi AssocRICS

Tatenda Metzger MRICS

Young Talent Surveying in Surveying

Jonah Speaks

Ola Alade

Joshua Jackson

Shaynesia Byfield

Special Mentions [Industry Trailblazers]:

Christopher Browne MRICS

Anthony Oloyede FRICS

The success of this 'worthwhile experiment', has resonated greatly with the younger [and growing international] cohort and confirmed not only that there is a genuine appetite for this level of 'grass-roots' intelligence, but also, that at DCS, we can truly begin to recognise and acknowledge the presence and commitment of our members, across the globe. We look forward to 2021 and will be monitoring the global footprint of the Surveying profession in search of next years cohort. On behalf of the built environment profession and the Black Surveying contingent, active within it, please do keep up the amazing work.

We are also sending and HUGE thank you to Sean Tompkins, RICS CEO and his Executive Team - for their collective and unfailing support and focus during these exponentially tying times]. We appreciate your inclusive institutional support, even in the presence of some challenging headwinds.


Elsewhere, there was a number of critical UK engagements and other key events, delivered in partnership with other industry leaders across the real estate sector, construction industry and wider built environment professions.

Credit: Estates Gazette

We kicked off the month with a sensitive and well-balanced conversation, via an EG PodCast, with the legendary Samantha McClary and Lucy Alderson, Editor and Journalist respectively at industry behemoth, Estates Gazette / EGi. The spontaneous conversation along with Ghislaine Halpenny [BPF] and Chris Ireland [JLL] focussed on the results of the first ever Race Diversity Survey conducted by this leading industry publication which, historically, since its formation in 1858, has shied away from ‘non-core' perhaps even controversial subjects, including race. However, Samantha has always been one to challenge and successfully push the boundaries. Called 'Enough is enough: property’s problem with institutional racism' you can listen to the open and frank conversation here.

Credit: Trust for London / City Bridge Trust & BTEG

Another quarterly meeting of the pan-London Advisory Group took place with the sole focus of considering the contents of a public policy statement on the current employment rates for Young Black Men ‘YBM’ across London. This key statement will also be sent to the Race and Advisory Group, Minister for Employment and other relevant public sector officials and ministerial departments.

In addition to the above, the Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London also graced a pan-London and quite possibly, global audience with his presence during the long awaited launch of the Inclusive Employers Toolkit. Arising from the original project scope of the Moving On Up 'MoU' Advisory Group, during Phase 1, and a concerted joint effort between MoU partners and the GLA led WIN Team, the IE Toolkit is designed to support Employers fro the Construction Sector to at least begin to engage with the conversation and processes designed to ensure that young black men are afforded genuine career opportunities to participate across the sector.

Credit: Mayor of London

"I call it the 'ground-zero' for Employers

(particularly those in the Construction and Technology sectors)

that struggle with inclusive-recruitment practices,

and particularly their inability to employ YBM in and across London"

.... Bola Abisogun OBE

You can observe the full contents of the Press Statement issued by Trust for London on 28.10.20; here

Credit: Rebecca Lovelace & Building People

A 'proof of concept platform' was successfully launched by Founder and Chief Dot-Joiner, Rebecca Lovelace at the high profile 'virtual' UK Construction Week 'UKCW' event held during Black History Month too. With active involvement and participation from almost a 1,000 organisations, a panel of industry Advisors / and all manner of supporters to Building People; including wider participation and influence from Mark Farmer, UK Government Champion for Modern Methods of Construction; the event was a resounding success, and used the hashtag #UKCWVirtual.

Themed, "How do we change the culture of the Built Environment?" a lively panel discussion took place on 06.10.20 along with a number of industry leaders, including those below. Cultural behaviours and the need to push for more sustainable, systemic change, formed the nucleus of the conversation. You can listen the conversation here