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Celebrating Black History Month in Wales

Thursday 01-10-2015 - 15:07

Black History month has arrived! This year the NUS Black Students’ Campaign is focussing on Black British history.

Let me give you a bit of history, I am feeling proud to be Ghanaian right now, the first Black History Month in the UK was organized through the leadership of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, the founder of UK black pride Phyll Opuko-Gyimah was also Ghanaian. Plus the first black NUS Women’s Officer Susuana Amoah is also Ghanaian. This year the NUS Black Students Campaign led by Malia Bouattia have managed to get more black students on National Executive Committee, as full time officers and NUS Vice Presidents than ever before. I only heard about these people and learnt about the achievements of NUS in the last year! Which tells me it is imperative that black students and people as a whole in UK, recognise these achievements, to inspire them to overcome the barriers they face and create a future they want to see as well.

This year the Black Students’ Campaign in Wales hopes to extend its reach to primary, secondary, further and higher education institutions. We are launching a poetry slam, where students will talk about what black history means to them, their heroes, inspirations and what the successes of black people means to individual black students, black people and society as a whole.

The ‘Students not Suspects’ national tour organised by the NUS Black Students Campaign and the right to protest, comes to Wales in Swansea on the 16th October. We will be discussing how to challenge the UK Government policy Prevent.  Prevent is not new but now universities and colleges are being legally made to monitor and report students, who may show signs of becoming radicalised into violent extremism. The ‘signs of becoming radicalised’ are undefined and black and Muslim students are more likely to be reported unjustly. Malia Bouattia the NUS Black Officer highlighted what Prevent is actually about.

“In bringing their battle ‘for hearts and minds’ – and against dissent – to spaces of education with the new Act, the UK Government is inviting to our campuses the same brutality that plagues black and Muslim people at the hands of the police and state in wider society. This campaign and tour is a great mark in contemporary black UK history as we say we will not be racially profiled by the UK Government and not tolerate Islamophobia on our campuses.’’

I urge black students and anyone interested to get involved and come to the event, you can register on this site and find out more information: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/students-not-suspects-swansea-tickets-18396918679

The NUS Black Students’ Campaign Wales blog (the link will be on our Facebook) will have posts of what black students got up to in Wales to celebrate black history month. Our YouTube site will have the same and we plan to have community events during black history month to celebrate which will all be on the blog, Twitter and Facebook pages. 

The blog will also have a section ‘What I love about being black’ that black students in Wales can comment on. We aim to have a section on black mental health at Swansea Union that will raise awareness of black mental health. We are hoping, though not confirmed to have a black history quiz across unions. There will also be a newsletter or booklet titled ‘Young, Gifted and Black History’ to celebrate, the young black people in the UK who have historically done amazing things; to inspire black students to aim to create a legacy and be great themselves.

Swansea Union will be taken part in ‘Her-Story’. Black Her-Story week will launch on 26 October for the last week of Black History Month nationally. “This week is to emphasise the need for Intersectionality and a gendered approach to Black History Month when celebrating our heritage, culture and liberation politics.”

Swansea University will be launching a photographic exhibition with a surprise theme. The event will be recorded and added to the exhibitions of other unions to create a film. If other welsh further or higher education unions want to get involved, they should contact me.

Overall, I am very excited and look forward to a great month celebrating black history in Wales.

To all my black brothers, sisters and non-binary siblings in Wales and across UK,

Happy Black History Month - celebrate like hell!

In unity

Akosua Darko

NUS Wales Black Students' Officer

Email: akosua.darko@nus-wales.org.uk

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