My heritage is who I am

Dr Maxine Pryce-Miller

Dr Maxine Pryce-Miller, Associate Professor and Curriculum Lead at Coventry University.

Date published

Thursday 28 September 2023

Dr Maxine Pryce-Miller discusses what Black History Month and this year’s theme – Saluting our Sisters - mean to her.

I am Dr Maxine Pryce-Miller, an adult and paediatric nurse. I am Associate Professor and Curriculum Lead for a number of nursing programmes at Coventry University.

Black History Month is a time to celebrate, acknowledge and appreciate the challenges of the past generation and the struggle for freedom and equity as a race. It is imperative from a historical perspective that others learn from our experiences as we continue pushing for a better and more inclusive society. This includes the workplace.

Additionally, it provides an opportunity to celebrate and share the rich heritage of various cultures within Black communities and encourages an understanding of true diversity in the process. It is salient to promote the achievements of the Black community, past and present, while at the same time addressing the systemic racism that still exists in society. For me personally, although Black History Month is celebrated in October, my existence should be enough to highlight the inequalities that my community faces.

My heritage is who I am, and knowing the past opens the door to the future. I am very proud of my achievements and the woman I am today.

I am an adult and paediatric nurse by background and many people have influenced me throughout my life. My mother has been my biggest inspiration. I am British, but grew up in Jamaica, a country where education is not free. She encouraged me and my sister to take our education seriously and made sure that we were able to take the common entrance and attend grammar schools. I will be forever indebted to her. Another inspirational figure in my life has been Professor Laura Serrant who has supported me on my journey and throughout my academic life. It is her unwavering support and encouragement that has given me the confidence to be my authentic self.

I have experienced racism in my personal and professional life and have been subject to the vast array of negative stereotypes associated with Black people generally. It is for this reason that representation and integration at all levels are so important. As is recognition of our achievements. On a personal level, my wish is to continue to inspire all students and colleagues and to emphasise the marginalised groups among us. In doing so, I hope to change the narrative for students and staff alike and empower them to achieve their aspirations.

As an employee at Coventry University, it is important to recognise and celebrate diversity within the university - students from all backgrounds need to see positive role models at every level of the organisation. Celebrating differences has countless benefits and will create a more just society and working environment for everyone. My heritage is who I am, and knowing the past opens the door to the future. I am very proud of my achievements and the woman I am today.