Tuesday 27-10-2015 - 09:36
At NUS Scotland Women’s Conference last April, delegates voted unanimously to create a Black Women’s Committee. Since then, seven members have been co-opted and the committee is well on its way.
From left to right: Tomiwa, Fatima, Lina, Shuwanna
The Committee has placed intersectionality at its core, believing this approach is the only effective challenge to the multitude of oppressions faced by Black Women on a daily basis. The Black Women’s Committee is an important platform which campaigns and raises awareness of feminist issues which are integral to Black Women’s liberation, which in many ways differ and are overlooked in mainstream feminism. Members of the new committee are dedicated to affecting real change on campus, nationally and participating in global campaigning.
Meet the committee:
Shuwanna: I am a 3rd year History student and the BME convener at the University of Edinburgh. NUS Women’s Conference last year was my first real brush with NUS politics, whilst there I found answers to so many questions, and understanding of oppressive structures which I came across everyday but struggled to explain. I felt empowered after leaving Women’s Conference, and have continued to feel so since then. I am very happy that NUS Scotland has created a Black Women’s Committee and extremely enthusiastic to be a part of it. More often than not, patriarchal and misogynistic attacks on Black Women are riddled with racism, Islamophobia and other oppressive structures – our experiences differ from white women’s and it is important to have a platform which understands and specifically tackles the complexity of our experiences.
Lina: This committee is important to me because I think black women deserve a safe space where we can flourish. Where we can share our experiences and our different cultures with the support of our sisters. Where our concerns are heard, understood and where we can effectively challenge racism, sexism and other discriminations.
Fatima: My name is Fatima Muhammad and I’m a 3rd year student at Heriot Watt University studying chemical engineering with pharmaceutical chemistry. For me, the Black Women’s Committee is important in providing a community where Black cultures are understood and a platform to share experiences and address the issues we face.
Tomiwa: My name is Tomiwa Folorunso and I am a third year history student at the University of Edinburgh. I consider myself Scottish-Nigerian, and have for a long while hesitantly considered myself a feminist – main stream feminisms had rarely reflected my views or tackled issues important to me.
I have often found myself either misrepresented or not represented, with no nobody that looks quite like me with whom I could share my experiences and discuss ways of tackling the issues I faced – so this committee is important personally. It is an opportunity to bring black women’s issues to the forefront, to open-up discourse and generate understanding.
Ankna: Originally from India I came to the UK to study music (classical voice) in 2011. Since my first year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland I was keen to be involved in the Students' Union. From my second year I was part of the Students' Union. Last year I was the VP and then decided that I would stand for the post of President. Last year for the first time in the Conservatoire we celebrated Black History Month. I then realised that I wanted to do more towards culture and celebrate the diversity at the Conservatoire. Being part of this Black Women's Committee gives me that opportunity to represent the arts and empower women.
Rabia: I am a final year student at the University of Aberdeen. I am glad to be part of the Black Women's Committee as they provide a platform and a voice to those women who suffer from institutionalised racism and sexism. Over the coming months, I plan to work with the committee to highlight these issues on campuses all over Scotland and to create an open dialogue where we can explore the overlapping issues of racism and sexism that Black women experience, and the ways our colleagues can support us in our work.