A richly diverse calendar of events celebrating the heritage, history, arts, culture and accomplishments of African, Caribbean and South Asian diasporas in the UK is underway as De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) marks Black History Month.
Running throughout October, this year's programme consists of a range of events and activities across campus, as well as online, including performances, talks and interactive sessions.
The national celebration promotes and celebrates Black contributions to British society, and aims to foster an understanding of Black history in general. Its origins go back to the 1920s in the US.
Both DMU and the De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) have planned events which include an exhibition in the library called ‘Banned’, which is a display of books by Black authors that have been banned and criticised in the US for their content. They are available to borrow.
There is also a Black Excellence Exhibition 2023, in the Student’s Union, paying homage to people from the DMU and DSU community who each offer a different insight into race, career opportunities, personal struggles and triumphs.
While Tony Warner, author, historian, activist and founder of Black History Walks, will hold a public talk about the importance of preserving Black histories.
You can find out more about events planned for the month here
Anette Hay, DMU's Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said: "It’s important for DMU/DSU to mark Black History Month because it is a reminder to everyone of the positive contributions Black people and communities have made throughout history, as well as a reminder of the many challenges, adversities and maltreatments Black people have overcome.
"It’s also an opportunity to encourage and enable our staff and students to think about how we can all increase our learning and knowledge of Black Histories and integrate or deploy this knowledge in our everyday practice, all year round. DMUs’ Decolonising De Montfort University (DDMU) project has just won a prestigious Advance HE CATE Award, which exemplifies an example of how this can be done in a meaningful and impactful way.
"As the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at DMU and as a Black woman, Black History Month is important because I believe that representation and history really matters in education and all that we do, as it provides a clarity of context and a more accurate understanding and awareness of place, belonging and the history of the world as we know it. And whilst doing this in practice may sometimes be challenging, it is always necessary, worthwhile and empowering for everyone."
Sherilyn Pereira, co-chair of DMU’s Race Equality Council and Public Engagement Manager for DMU’s Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, said: “Over the years, DMUs Race Equality Network has led the way in magnifying marginalised identities and voices on our campus during Black History Month and this year is no exception.
“I want to thank the Black History Month Steering Group for organising a month of exciting and thought-provoking events and conversations that celebrate our African, Caribbean and Indian communities at DMU for everyone to take part in and appreciate.”
Fluffy Adewola, DSU Welfare Executive Officer, said: “Black History Month presents us all with an opportunity to honour and recognise the significant contributions made by black students, staff and alumni and hear about their experiences while at DMU.
“It also educates people about the struggle and triumphs of Black people, promotes understanding, helps people see that they are valued and combats prejudice and discrimination.
“It will encourage a sense of belonging and let people know that DSU and DMU care about you, and whatever your race or colour we see you and celebrate you.”
Bradie McDaid, DSU Advice and Wellbeing Coordinator (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), has organised the Black Excellence Exhibition.
He said: “I'm delighted to announce the launch of the Black Excellence Exhibition, on behalf of De Montfort Students' Union.
“The exhibition aims to celebrate success stories, boost visible representation around campus and offer an insight into different career paths that are available within Higher Education.
“I'm incredibly proud of the project and encourage people to visit the exhibition from October 16th onwards.”
Nationally, the theme for Black History Month is ‘Saluting Our Sisters’ highlighting the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities.
National celebrations will showcase pioneering black women who have made remarkable contributions to literature, music, fashion, sport, business, politics, academia, social and health care and more.
Posted on Monday 2nd October 2023