BHM 2020: We are black history

Marking the start of Black History Month 2020, the University of Leicester and the University of Leicester Students’ Union has today launched a programme of events that are thought provoking, challenging and exciting, encompassing the theme We Are Black History.

The month-long celebrations will be used as a springboard to launch a longer-term campaign led by the University to celebrate Black history and culture throughout the year. This campaign will focus on Black history, and how it influences the present and future experiences of Black staff and students. The We Are Black History concept was developed by Sandra Tetteh, former BAME Officer at the Leicester Student Union.

Events commence with the launch of #ITooAmLeicester, a campaign highlighting the faces and voices of Black students at the University of Leicester, which aims to promote understanding and awareness around their identities and experiences. Together with the University, the SU will also run a workshop exploring the psychological impacts of racial trauma, an event focusing on the successes of Black owned businesses, a careers workshop aimed at helping students achieve their full potential and making connections with large companies, and an exciting finale with a Night of Culture celebrating Black artists.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester, said:

“Black History is more than a month – it is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. This is why I want to use Black History Month to launch We Are Black History, to ensure every day is an opportunity to celebrate and recognise Black history.

It is important that we celebrate our Black history – we must not be afraid to ask the difficult questions and we must listen to the difficult answers.

Diversity sits at the heart of all we do here at Leicester – I am very proud that the University is counted as one of the most diverse places to study in the country, and that we have such diverse representation on our Students’ Union body.”

Mia Nembhard, President of the University of Leicester Students Union said:

“We Are Black History is a campaign reaffirming the need to see black history, black existence and black culture as more than a month from the past. It is important that black students on campus feel seen and heard and not homogenised. The black student experience is diverse – whether you’re a black postgrad, a black student carer and/or live at the intersection of many identities, you are important, your voice matters and I hope this month provides a range of celebration, reflection and representation that is so often excluded in HE.”

Leicester is one of the most diverse universities in the UK. Upon joining the University of Leicester, Professor Canagarajah pledged to eliminate this ‘awarding gap’ by 2025, which sees many students missing out on top degrees. The University currently has an awarding gap of 9% compared with the national 13%.

This year’s artwork for Black History Month was created by Ejow Ono, a talented Black artist from Leicester who specialises in specialises in digital artwork illustration.

For more information about Black History Month 2020, please visit the University of Leicester’s website.

For a full list of events, please visit the Leicester Student Union website.