Black History Month is an annual event which originally began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.
October is a funny time, all students are back from their break, lessons starts, it’s the end of freshers and everyone is ready to get back to their daily routine; which leads to the month getting drown away. However, It is a month of observance that emphasises the importance of black participation throughout history; and as your Vice-President Community & Wellbeing I had the pleasure this year of leading on the Union activity for Black History Month to see this University and this is what we got up to...
1. A Celebration of Black History Exhibition
The first event of the month was an exhibition celebrating Black history in the Pavilion, by bringing the past back to life by showcasing costumes of Black figures which students could try on, we had many students and staff pass by and interact with the stalls and the exhibition learning more about Black History.
2. Gary Younge in Conversation
The Department of English, supported by the City BAME Staff Network organised for Gary Younge; alumni, award-winning author, journalist, broadcaster and editor-at-large for The Guardian to speak on campus. Gary spoke about his experience in America and the racism he experienced working as a journalist for the Guardian.
This event was an insightful opportunity for BAME City students as it allowed a window into one of our excellent alumni who has pursued a career in an area they are deeply passionate about whilst being transparent about barriers faced.
3. Black Women Rising: A New Force in Politics
This event was a panel discussion which I had the pleasure of chairing. On the panel was Rakhia Ismail, the first black female mayor of Islington and Zamzam Ibrahim, NUS President. Both speakers shared their journeys, experiences and about how they got to their prestigious roles.
4. Food & Culture Night (feat. Somali Society & ACS)
To round off the month we ran an event in the Courtyard Café in collaboration with Somali Society and African Caribbean Society. The night hosted a variety of performances from spoken word to poetry, and a fashion show. To conclude, we managed to provided Caribbean Food at the end of the night, delivered by Francesca’s CateringCakes, which was absolutely delicious.
I can truly say it has been an eventful month and hope that this will be the start of something amazing, with a variety of events and communications celebrating and recognising the key roles and impacts the Black community have brought to the U.K. More importantly, building that community at City is significant and will bring that support to our students at their time at City. Personally, my time here wouldn’t be what it was if it was not for the many student groups, societies and events like the ones for Black History Month.
In addition, I hope this sets the setting stones for the years to come where we continue to celebrate this month every year and it fits into the wider and bigger community at City. Going forward, Black History Month isn’t only to be recognised in the 31 days we have it in a year but to acknowledge our diverse and culturally rich university and celebrating it throughout the 365 days a year, every year.
Baby steps now but we will be leaping soon!
Rania, Vice-President Community & Wellbeing