Black History Month
Race equality is an issue of upmost priority for the Sabbatical officer team. From starting a petition by our VP Community and Wellbeing to change the name of Cass Business School which was named after a salve trader, John Cass, to showcasing the racist experience faced by students at the University townhall event, we understand that difficult conversations need to be had.
As promised, this year’s Black History Month was not just a routine celebration of the Black community. We wanted this year’s Black History Month to act as a launchpad for further, long-term campaigns of importance to students, such as tackling the Degree Awarding Gap and ensuring our Mental Health and Counselling services are culturally competent.
During the month-long campaign, we held several events and worked very closely with the Network for Racial Justice (NRJ). The first was on the attainment gap where we were joined by the NUS President, Larissa Kennedy, Michelle Ellis, Chair of the Race Equality Charter Student Pipeline sub-group and our very own VP Education, Ruqaiyah Javaid. We had a fruitful conversation on what it means to be a Black student in University, the institutional barriers faced by Black students and how City University can reduce the attainment gap. We also held an Insta live event titled ‘when wellbeing is White’, to explore what culturally competent mental health services look like, and how current services are failing our most vulnerable students. Our last event was panel event inspired by the current political context on activism and police brutality and how a world post George Floyd may look like. We aimed to inspire students to be the change they want to see in society.
We have worked with the University to create a Student EDI Steering Group which will compromise of students from all 5 Schools who are committed to advancing race equality and would like to contribute to the progression of EDI projects impacting City students.
Our commitment to Race Equality has continued even after Black History Month. We have recently published our Student Wellbeing Survey which will help us identify gaps and put recommendations forward to transform our mental health services in order to ensure the lived experiences of our BAME students are accounted for and therefore given the best support.
Shaima Dallali | VP Community and Wellbeing