Black History Month is over – what’s next?  

Monday 16-11-2020 - 18:06
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This past month, we celebrated Black excellence and worked towards bringing light to the contributions of Black people, which are often overlooked. Even with the restrictions of being online, it continued to be our most successful Black History Month yet! Led by the Black Student Liberation group alongside the African and Caribbean Society, SHAREDIN, Amnesty International and MDX FM and facilitated by us, the SU Officer Team.  We wanted to support student leadership & ownership of Black History Month to deliver their own vision. In doing so, giving Black students the platform to celebrate themselves, their history, culture, and success  
 

What happened:  

We wanted the month to showcase Black excellence and highlight not just the Black community, but the Black community here, at Middlesex. We had four main themes for BHM - Educate, Support, Inspire and Lead with their corresponding events, taking place throughout the month.  
Our events consisted of a mix of live online events such as  events and panel talks. There were opportunities for the liberation group and societies to promote their offer and other student Black-owned businesses. We also introduced the Black Wall of Excellence for the community to nominate Middlesex Black staff & students to be celebrated and publicly recognised. The Black Wall of Excellence will continue as a permeant feature on our website.
 
Black History Month was just the starting point for us, it was just the beginning of the work we have planned up when it comes to supporting and empowering our Black students in our students’ union. Throughout the month we made clear that celebrating Black excellence is more than a month but something that we at MDXSU will do consistently. The majority of things which have been launched this month will continue throughout the rest of the year. We look forward to the prospect of empowering our students to take the lead for Black History Month and directing us in how they would like this celebration to reflect the community.  
 

So, what’s next?  

Working in collaboration with Black Student Liberation and other student societies we are planning to host an event every month celebrating Black excellence. The events will range from different speaker events to student led events. Please contact if you have any suggestions of what you would like to see at BlackStudents@mdxsu.com
 
In a promising step forward, MDXSU has managed to secure £4,000 to fund black student experience research and decolonising the curriculum research. We hope the reports from this research will articulate clear lists of recommendations for change to aid in making systematic change and improving the lives of Black students (and other students of colour) in the long term. We hope the report will highlight to the University the barriers faced by Black students so that they can be effectively addressed and we can work to find constructive solutions.  
 
We know that a one issue that contributes to the Black Attainment Gap is not being able to have a curriculum that reflects your experience. The decolonising the curriculum research will result in a framework that all courses (as is reasonable) will meet before they are taught to students. We are also conducting an in-depth review of the reporting systems of racism at Middlesex. Starting by focusing on the policy & procedures in order to establish areas for improvement. We want to ensure that students are appropriately supported and communicated with throughout the process, cases are handled effectively, and that appropriate justice is delivered. 
 
This year has forced many of us to pause and reflect on the structures in our society that cause inequality. It would be a grave oversight to rest on our laurels of being ‘the most diverse campus in the country’ without recognising that we fall short on delivering an equitable opportunity for students to fully participate in the MDX experience. The work to dismantle structures will be a long and painful process but essential to creating a truly liberated society. MDXSU is committed to this work and looks forward to working with the student community and the University to continue delivering for students. We have a long journey ahead.  
 

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