As a concluding article for our celebrations of Black History Month, Head of the Ethnic Minorities Network (EMN for short), Aarushi Mittal, brings us a piece on why Black History Month matters and how the EMN celebrated it here in Loughborough this October.
To some people, there may be a level of controversy around what Black History Month means or represents, but for me, it is a celebration of what black people have overcome and are able to achieve across the world. To me, it doesn’t involve pointing fingers; it is a way of remembering how this community fought for their rights despite all hurdles and continued to spread their amazing culture; from food, traditional clothes, and music all over the world.
As this important month comes around every year, it is important to keep all stereotypes and judgments aside and to respect and recognise the challenges and experiences the black community has faced. This aspect of Black History Month has taught me how such great communities, and individual citizens, leave their mark on our society and allow it to progress. However, despite recognizing this every year for an entire month, it is disheartening to see that discrimination still persists all over the world.
As the Ethnic Minorities Officer, I strive to make the university a safe space for students and celebrate all people, giving them an opportunity to voice their opinions and particularly raise awareness during this month. This year, we aim to celebrate and involve students by giving them a platform to talk about their university experience through panel discussion events, exploring points of thought like “Why is my Curriculum White?” and “Intersectionality between Racism, Sexism and Sexual Health”, which focused on consent and sexual health amongst women in black communities with an all student panel talking about their own experiences.
We also aim to celebrate different aspects of culture by organizing events like Loughborough’s first ever “Afrobeats/ Afroswing/ Dancehall/ Bashment” night out and fitness classes that involve Afrobeats music, such as the Zumba class during Fitfest and a ‘Rihanna vs Beyonce’ circuit training class at a local gym for students in town to get involved. This year we also took the celebration to the community in many other ways, by organizing an art competition for all students in local schools, colleges, and the university.
As well as this, there was an organised movie night screening of “Moonlight”. Another event which we take pride in is the Live Music and Open Mic night, which was a lovely evening with song and spoken word performances recognizing the talents of black students on campus; an extremely empowering evening for all of those involved. Our last event for the month was a huge showcase, the Black History Month Carnival, which included performances of dance, song, and spoken word and was followed by a fashion show recognizing that ‘black is beautiful’.
Featured image by: Amie Woodyatt