30 years of Black History Month: Where are we now?
This event was organised by The University of Manchester’s (UoM) Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network Group and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre. The focus was a celebration and discussion of Black History Month, looking at its relevance and power in the present context.
Georgina Lewis (UoM BAME Staff Network Group Chair) and Dr. Claire Fox (Academic Director of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre) gave an introduction. The BAME Staff Network Group operates as a forum to exchange views and provide an authoritative voice for BAME staff. The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre is an open access library at the university specialising in the study of race, ethnicity and migration.
Georgina Lewis And Dr. Claire Fox
The keynote speaker, Dr Kehinde Andrews (Associate Professor of Sociology at Birmingham City University), reflected on the origins of Black History Month and its significance within British society. He argued that the study of black history needs to be revised and the understanding that grows out of this can re-frame how we view the world. He also stated the need to stop homogenising all ethnicities into the singular category of black and to understand the diverse scope of different ethnic struggles.
Dr. Kehinde Andrews
The event closed with a panel discussion consisting of Dr Kehinde Andrews, Elizabeth Cameron (Chair of UNISON North West regional Black members committee and Women’s committee), Atiha Chaudry (Chair of GM BME Network), Deej Malik-Johnson (UMSU Campaigns & Citizenship Officer), Patrick Johnson (Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at UoM) and Wilf Sullivan (TUC Race Equality Officer).
From Left To Right: Dr. Hema Radhakrishnan, Dr. Kehinde Andrews, Patrick Johnson, Atiha Chaudry, Wilf Sullivan, Deej Malik-Johnson And Elizabeth Cameron
There was a lively discussion between the panel and questions from the audience. A topic that was touched upon in detail was the relationship between Black History Month and education; to what extent can education become more inclusive for BAME students and how can institutions improve their social responsibility to BAME communities?There was a mutual recognition of the necessity to continue pushing for racial reform and radical change on all social fronts, whether it be at a community engagement or institutional level.