As part of celebrating Black History, we asked 3 people to take part in a short Q&A.
As part of celebrating Black History, we asked 3 people to take part in a short Q&A to understand what it means to be black and what further work needs to be done to be more inclusive.
Bilsola Olatunji, Vice President of Community at the Students’ Union
Philipia Pert, University of Wolverhampton Phd Student
Kerensa Hodge, Live Events Executive at the Students’ Union
Q:What does Black History month mean to you in four words
Kerensa: Change, memories, inspiration, exciting.
Bisola: Inspiring, Black excellence, inclusivity, opportunity.
Philipia: Liberation , free spirited, power, resilience.
Q: What is your experience as a black British citizen?
Kerensa: Mixed from experiencing the power of what diversity can offer a community, to sad to still see that there is still so much work to be done, regarding inclusivity.
Bisola: Living in the UK has been fun, intuitive, challenging and experiencing different culture shock. I have been here for slightly over three years now and it gets interesting year after year. There is the struggle that comes from being black and how you have to overcompensate for it and prove to people that you can be YOU especially during job search.
Philipia: Overt exposure to structural violence: negative/racism/discrimination at work. Stemmed from secondary school, lack of cultural competence from school staff and endemic institutionalised racism. Impact of this being the feelings of disempowerment from high school onwards/restriction of freedom of speech.
Q: Do you believe the UK is inclusive in its approach to black communities?
Kerensa: It depends on where you live. I believe that the intent is there, but more education is needed to understand the needs of black communities in the 21st century.
Bisola: I believe it is something that would always be spoken about and there is still more work to be done, and I am glad to be a part of the journey to improve the presence of diversity in the UK as an officer of the student union for university of Wolverhampton.
Philipia: No. Structural racism is still existent based on lived experiences so far from school to everyday abuses exposed to with institutional racism presenting the biggest problem.
Q: What positive practices have you witnesses in the UK towards building an Inclusive Britain?
Kerensa: The recent challenges in introducing more black faces on TV since George Floyd is embraced, but again I believe there is still more work to be done.
Bisola: The commonwealth games were a great opportunity to represent different countries. The coming together to celebrate in games was quiet inspiring. We could see from the games that if we all gather for a common goal, we are more powerful, and the diversity cannot be broken.
Philipia: None: Policy Actions pure words no action. Evidenced with the ongoing problems of community endemic problems/ employment/structural violence/environmental racism.
Q: What social political changes would the UK need to implement in moving forward?
Kerensa: More training to develop intersectionality in cyber environments both in the workforce and creating more inclusive environments in line with digital advancements.
Bisola: More policies to help international student with tuition funds and cost of living.
Philipia: Change needs to begin from the top/ Policy environment with the decision makers need to be held accountable to become cultural agents of change and awareness to how black people are living in the UK.
To celebrate Black History, the Students' Union are championng Black History Year, where we will be hosting events and activities throughout the year to encorage knowlege sharing, celebrate black excellence and promote inclusivity. Take a look at our 'whats on' for information about upcoming events.