As we come to the end of Black History Month it’s time to look back at some of the incredible events we hosted this October!
We kicked off Black History Month in style on the 8th of October with a panel discussion hosted by the Great Debate Tour 2014. EUSA VPAA Dash Sekhar, EUSA BME Convener Faatima Osman, student activist Brekhna Aftab and Founder of the St Andrews Africa Summit Bradley Poku-Amankwah discussed a huge range of issues, from the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, to BME representation in the media. The event was well attended, with great questions from the audience, and we received really good feedback from everyone present.
Our next event was a guest lecture by author, poet and journalist Musa Okwonga, which took place on the 13th of October. Musa’s speech, entitled “Beware the Black Sainthood” explored the way in which radical Black figures are often “sanitised” after their deaths to make their legacy more palatable to those outside the Black community (you can read a transcript here). After his speech, Musa answered a range of excellent questions from the audience addressing topics such as Malcom X and recent events in Ferguson. He also went into more detail about how we can all act to prevent Black history from being erased and spoke about the universal aspects of anti-oppression activism:
“As activists, all you are ever really doing is chipping away at whatever wall of oppression you face. You never know if it will be you who makes the breakthrough, and if you do, you will owe everything to those who came before you.”
We co-hosted our third event – a screening of the Channel 4 documentary Kashmir’s Toture Trail – with the Kashmir Solidarity Movement Edinburgh. The eye-opening documentary was followed by a panel discussion and Q&A, which allowed the audience to explore the issues raised in more detail. Following the event, the group raised funds for Kashmir flood victims by serving Kashmiri tea.
On Monday, we marked the end of EUSA’s Black History Month programme with a fantastic event featuring Vincent Hantam, the first non-white male dancer ever to be employed by the Scottish Ballet. Vincent spoke openly about his journey from small town ballet classes in South Africa to having the Director of the Scottish Ballet choreograph a routine especially for him. He also discussed the impact his first dance teacher had on him, and why – age 58 – he’s still passionate about teaching. Following the dialogue with Wendy Timmons, Vincent performed alongside Anu Ogunmefun and Jed Perez from the Classically British Showcase run by Portobello Dance in London.
We’d like to thank everyone who came along and contributed to any of our Black History Month events. We hope you enjoyed them, and remember Black History is more than a month!