Black History Month

Image Credited to Sam Gasking, Leicester Students' Union

Black History Month

The University of Leicester is proud to celebrate Black History Month this October. The month marks and explores Black stories both past and present to highlight the achievements, experiences, and successes of Black cultural figures and communities. Through using creative mediums such as art, storytelling, and entertainment, we are given a glimpse into the lives and experiences of our Black communities.

This year also marks 75 years since more than 800 passengers from the Caribbean arrived in the UK on HMT Empire Windrush. The anniversary highlights the contributions of Black people from the British commonwealth and their post-war impact on British society. This coincides with the National Health Service's (NHS) 75 year anniversary, which is significant due to the many Black Caribbean Windrush passengers who were the first employees of the NHS, which was formed just two weeks after they arrived. For Leicester, this year also marks 75 years since the opening of the African Caribbean Centre, and the University led Migration Network were proud to host a community event to celebrate the Caribbean communities' connections with Windrush, the NHS and the Centre.

Here at Leicester, our staff, students, and wider community have come together year after year to take part in our celebrations, which include a host of interactive events, activities, and sessions to recognise pinnacle moments, achievements, and cultural highlights within the Black Community.

The University, along with the Attenborough Arts Centre, the Students’ Union, and the Staff Multi-Ethnicity Forum are proud to be celebrating Black History Month this year and hope that you can join us for this month and beyond.

Hear from Nishan Canagarajah and Jade Thomas

Nishan Canagarajah - President and Vice-Chancellor

Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor"We are proud to be a part of a growing diverse community and to celebrate the enormous contribution of Black staff and students at Leicester. Every year, in October, Black History Month offers us opportunities to shine a light on the history, achievements and impact of the Black community, through conversation, amplifying voices and sharing culture.

As a University, we are committed to supporting our Black staff and students through continuing to develop a culture that recognises and responds to the distinct challenges and barriers faced by our Black community. We are making positive strides to champion various inclusivity work at the University. As part of the Black Excellence Programme, within the University’s School of Business, interventions have been implemented to tackle the awarding, attainment and satisfaction gaps of Black students at the School of Business. The Black Student Experience Working group is using insight into the Black experience to help shape how we offer assistance to our Black student and staff community.

The University of Leicester’s Migration Network have recently hosted a successful event in the community to raise awareness and celebrate the contributions of Leicester’s Black communities in light of 75 years since Windrush and the NHS’s 75-year anniversary. With our Library’s reading collection, we are ensuring thought-provoking stories by Black authors are highlighted. Finally, the Students’ Union’s Black Excellence award and celebration evening is always a great way of shining a light on the incredible successes of our Black students.

As this year’s theme for the month is ‘Saluting Our Sisters’, which places emphasis on the many contributions of often overlooked Black women within British history, as well as recognising and celebrating individuals amongst the Black community more widely, we hope to particularly highlight the trailblazing women and their push to be changemakers.

I strongly encourage you to participate in events and activities throughout Black History Month, and join us in celebrating the people, history and culture that make this month so special."

Jade Thomas - Liberation Officer, 2022/23

Jade Thomas headshot"Black History Month is about celebrating the achievements of Black people across the globe – past and present. This year the theme is “Saluting our Sisters”. The Students’ Union has interpreted this to mean a celebration of those part of Black Womanhood and the impact of their contributions on British culture. From music and food, fashion and art, and many more parts of British life, our impact can be widely seen and felt.

We have so many wonderful Black Individuals within our community who continue to change the world for the better, every day. This year, we want to celebrate our students, providing spaces to connect and build communities within our Students’ Union family. Our events aim to uplift and celebrate the culture of Black Women, supporting their contributions to society, both within the University and outside of it. We acknowledge the historic and systemic erasure of Black Women and their contributions to society – from Moorish Maidservants to Stonewall. We will continue to thrive and make our mark #WeMatter."

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