This week, Natasha Dahir (Upper Sixth), guest writes on the Headmistress blog about the African and Caribbean and South Asian Societies anti-racism campaign.
The African and Caribbean and South Asian Societies have kickstarted this term with an important message. That is: be anti-racist. Our anti-racism campaign aims to raise awareness of racism in society and educate all of us about how we can prevent and respond to incidents in our school community and beyond. Furthermore, this week has been dedicated to progressing the conversations surrounding racism and prejudice towards marginalised communities. This is an extremely valuable experience for us all, to understand the role we play in providing a safe and all-inclusive space for each other.
We began with a Stephen Lawrence Day assembly on the Thursday 22nd of April. In 1993, eighteen-year-old Stephen Lawrence was attacked and murdered on his way home, solely because he was black. The assembly not only helped raise awareness about this infamous racially motivated attack, but also shed light on how the investigation was mishandled by the police, who were blatantly racist. Lawrence’s murder opened the nation’s eyes to the extent to which systemic racism can affect our lives and the decisions we make. It has encouraged more people to actively work against racism through charities such as Blueprint For All, founded after his death.
Additionally, the South Asian Society produced a video celebrating the plethora of Asian cultures and their differences. Their descriptions of the parts of their cultures that make them most proud brought a celebratory tone to the week and shows us that anti-racism can also manifest itself in embracing our cultures and identities.
The work of the late American Civil Rights Activist Claiborne Paul ‘C.P.’ Ellis is really admirable. Originally Ellis was a well-respected KKK member for 12 years. A change in him, which he described as almost being born again, made him decide to spend the next 30 years of his life fighting against racism and for the rights of black people alongside other activists. Despite receiving threats from people he once cared for, he said: “I made up my mind that what I was doin’ was right, and I was gonna do it regardless of what anybody else said”. The Netflix film The Best of Enemies summarises his ten-day journey from Klansman to Activist. I was moved by the volume of emotion this drama film was able to achieve. The message I learnt from this and would like to pass onto you all, is that change doesn’t come without resistance, but if it is for the right thing, then it will definitely be worth it.