This is a time for us all to reflect on how our society has been made stronger, and our country and city enriched, by the enormous contributions of people who travelled here to build new lives in the UK, and their descendants.
I have spoken before about the all-too-often undervalued accomplishments of Black people and Black communities in the UK in every area of endeavour throughout our history, and at Leeds Beckett we are proud to take part in celebrating these accomplishments during Black History Month.
Throughout the month we will be reflecting on Black history, but also looking at the work being done by academics, students, staff and alumni to ensure the lessons of that history are reflected in a brighter and more prosperous future for Black people in Leeds and across the UK.
I invite you all to join us in this celebration, and look out for these highlights:
A blog by Dr Emily Zobel Marshall offers fresh insight into the Abolitionists of Yorkshire, and how three prominent Black activists from the United States helped to build the UK movement against slavery.
Professor Vini Lander and Dr Daniel Kilvington have launched series two of their Talking Race podcast, which runs over the course of the month covering a wide range of subjects from Black feminism to racism in sport.
Maryam Riaz talks about the lack of diversity in counselling, and how we are helping to address this with our Northpoint Wellbeing Counselling Scholarship in a special episode of the Beckett Talks podcast.
In a special event for Black History Month Yinka Shonibare spoke to Dr Emily Zobel Marshall in a virtual event, where he discussed his work, inspiration, and his sculpture in memory of David Oluwale.
David was a British Nigerian who drowned in the River Aire at Leeds in 1969.
His death was the result of, “the physical and psychological destruction of a homeless black man, whose brutal, systematic harassment was orchestrated by the Leeds city police force” and “resulted in the first successful prosecution of British police officers for involvement in the death of a black person.”
It is important we recognise our own responsibilities for the problems in our own society. You can find more information about our university’s approach in our Anti-Racism Statement.