October is a month of great things: Canadian Thanksgiving, Raisin, and pumpkins, just to name a few. It is also the month during which the UK celebrates Black History, which is certainly a great thing.
Sium Ghebru, the Students’ Representative Council Member for Racial Equality, has organized a month-long series of events in recognition of Black History Month, including a poetry slam, a film screening, a debate, and a second annual #ITooAmStAndrews campaign. The final event will take place next week, when Dr Robin Bunce will present a lecture on the Black Power movement in Britain during the ‘60s and ‘70s.
As the SRC Member for Racial Equality, Sium’s role, in his own words, is “to be the representative for respect and recognition of ethnicity, race and culture for the entire student body.” Inclusion is a major focus of the position, and its title was recently changed from the SRC Member for Ethnic Minorities to that of Racial Equality to emphasise that it is representative of all students (even white ones).
This year, Sium hopes to develop a scheme with the Education Officer in order to provide a way for students who speak English as a second language to have their essays proofread before submission. He is also keen to help the University bring in more ethnically diverse applications.
So far, though, he’s been kept busy with Black History Month. His goal for the series of events (some of which have already taken place) is “to go across all forms of culture – spoken word, film, dance, history – and see where Black artists and political figures have shown an influence on… British culture.”
Many of the events celebrating Black History Month have been collaborative efforts between Sium and other societies on campus. How might other societies get involved in the future? “I think a simple email to the next Member for Racial Equality would suffice!” says Sium. “The Students’ Association is always keen to have more people and societies try to get involved with initiatives.”