Black History Month: A Reflection

Written by Meranie Kairu (Lower Sixth) and Aisha Njomo (Upper Sixth).

Reflecting on Black History Month, Mrs Gibson (Headmistress) has invited the Lead Ambassadors of the African and Caribbean Society to guest write her blog.

As our Black History Month campaign comes to an end, we take a moment to reflect on the work we have done. Our goal was to celebrate the achievements of the Black British, Black African and Caribbean population and educate students on their heritage and history. The foremost aim of this campaign, however, was to spark conversations in our school community that would encourage students, and staff, to think about the diverse nation in which we live with a greater understanding of its people. 

Our whole school assembly highlighted the importance of Black History Month to Black Britons and others in the UK. For Black Britons, knowing your history deepens your understanding of who you are and helps you to acknowledge the power in your identity. Power in our identity provides us with a strong sense of pride and belonging. This is a powerful tool that can equip our minds against the negative stereotypes imposed on us both consciously and unconsciously by society. For our communities, we are only strengthened by appreciating the achievement of Black British people and recognising the influence they have had on British society.

Our House competition gave students and staff the chance to put a spotlight on the most influential Black woman to them and we received lots of excellent entries that will be displayed around the school. Through a range of form time activities, students have explored art in the Nairobi Gallery, the presence of Africans in Roman Britain and recollected familiar Black British Actors. Decorative displays have also showcased the fabrics and flags of African and Caribbean countries and detailed their achievements. As well as this, a series of form time debates engaged students in thoughtful discussions on topics such as cultural appropriation and hair discrimination in schools.

This Black History Month campaign marks the beginning of a cultural shift in the BGS Community. By engaging students and staff in necessary, thought-provoking conversations on the erasure of history, race relations in the UK and the single-story many have of Africa and the Caribbean, we have taken our first dive into previously uncharted waters.

However, the end of Black History Month does not signify the end of these conversations. As lead ambassadors of the African and Caribbean Society, our mission is to keep these conversations ignited. We will not leave it to October to celebrate the achievements of Black Britons that have shaped our society into what we see today. We will continue to keep these ideas and topics fresh in the minds of our community. It is only once students become comfortable with the uncomfortable, that they find the confidence to go out into the world and take action. We are hopeful for the future of BGS and believe that our work will contribute to the building of a more inclusive environment for all.

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