Category Archives: Race

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – November 2020

October is Black History Month and also on 16 October it is World Food Day.  With that in mind we have chosen Marcus Rashford as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Marcus is a professional footballer who plays for Manchester United.  He was bought by his mum who often struggled to afford food to provide meals for Marcus and his siblings.

The issue of food poverty for families and children had always therefore been something that Marcus was very keen to help with and he has been working with the charity FareShareUK to raise money to supply meals for 3 million vulnerable people.  During the coronavirus lockdown the government insisted that food vouchers for families on free school meals would not be extended outside of term time so he decided to act.

He wrote an open letter to all MPs calling for the decision to be reversed.  The letter drew on his own experiences growing up relying of free school meals and food banks.  He asked that the government make the U turn to protect the lives of the most vulnerable which was not about politics but about humanity.  In June 2020 it was confirmed that he had been successful in his quest and the government changed their mind and extended the scheme through the school holidays.

He has now formed a taskforce with some of the UK’s biggest food brands to continue the work to reduced child food poverty and backed proposals from the National Food Strategy, for an independent review of UK food policy.  Marcus is confident that the group could help change lives for the better and is hoping that with a bigger team of experts he will be able to help more children.

To find out more about Marcus see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Rashford

To find out more about Black History Month see here https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

To find out more about World Food Day see here http://www.national-awareness-days.com/world-food-day/

Black History Month: Postboxes painted to honour black Britons

Four postboxes have been painted black to honour black Britons including Sir Lenny Henry and nursing pioneer Mary Seacole.

The Royal Mail postboxes – in London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast – have been painted as part of Black History Month in October.

Each features a significant figure in the British black community and has a social media link.

Royal Mail says the aim is to help mark the success of black Britons. More

Meet Senegal’s first female professional surfer

Khadjou Sambe, Senegal’s first female professional surfer, trains near her home in the district of Ngor – the westernmost point of the African continent.

I would always see people surfing and I’d say to myself: ‘But where are the girls who surf?'” says the 25-year-old.”I thought: ‘Why don’t I go surfing, represent my country, represent Africa, represent Senegal, as a black girl?'”

Reuters photojournalist Zohra Bensemra has documented Sambe’s training and her coaching of other girls and women. More

Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams wins British Book Award

Candice Carty-Williams has said she feels “proud” but “sad” to become the first black author to win book of the year at the British Book Awards.

Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Queenie, fended off titles from authors including Lisa Taddeo, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Margaret Atwood.

She’s joined on the winner’s podium by Bernardine Evaristo, who was named author of the year.

Her Booker-winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, won fiction book of the year. More

Black Lives Matter: a statement from the Vice-Chancellor, GSU officers, Chairs of EDI Committee & Chair of BAME staff network

We stand together in solidarity with our black students and staff.

As a university community and as individuals we are appalled by the senseless racist killing of George Floyd in the USA. We are equally saddened that the UK is not innocent. We know Sheku Bayoh, Kingsley Burrell, Sarah Reed, and many others have died in police custody in this country. We also all know about the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence.

We need to see the situation for what it is and we need to be honest: these experiences exist and structural racism is present in our communities and in our universities. As employers, educators, researchers and community leaders we have a duty to act and an important part to play, and we should start with apologising for not doing enough and for not confronting racism with the urgency it deserves.

We also know saying this isn’t sufficient. We have a duty to do better. Equality, diversity and inclusion are founding principles of our institution and core beliefs of our students and staff. We know that world events and media coverage shouldn’t be the only driver for change but recent events and feedback from staff and students tells us that we need to do more.

With this in mind, we are committing to a review of all of our equality and diversity work and by the end of September 2020 we will be sharing our detailed plan of action setting out how we will do more to achieve systemic and long-lasting change for our students and staff. As part of this, we will be reflecting on the work done by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the BAME attainment gap project and the BAME Staff Network.

The Vice-Chancellor will also be appointing a member of staff to work directly with her 1-2 days per week, on a secondment basis, to champion and deliver this important work.

We recognise that we also have a responsibility to educate ourselves and we will shortly be sharing resources for students and staff across the university.

In the meantime, we recognise how tough, hurtful, and traumatising the last few weeks have been to our black students and staff.

If you need support now, or at any time in the future, you can contact the Wellbeing Service or GSU Advice Service (for students) or the Employee Assistance Programme, a wellbeing champion or a member of Human Resources (for staff).

You can also join our BAME Staff Network (by emailing Natasha Abreo) or GSU’s BAME Student Society by emailing Mayo Femi-Obalemo, or email any suggestions you may have about how the university should take further action to Naseer Ahmad or Simone Murch from our EDI team.

Black lives matter.

Professor Jane Harrington

Vice-Chancellor and on behalf of the University of Greenwich

Dr Sandhi Patchay

Chair and on behalf of the University of Greenwich BAME Staff Network

GSU Officers

On behalf of Greenwich Students’ Union

Gail Brindley, Director of HR & Professor Mark O’Thomas, PVC, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science, Co-Chairs, and on behalf of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the University of Greenwich

Trailblazer playwright on the need to keep black British history alive

In 2003 Winsome Pinnock was described as the “Godmother of Black British playwrights” – and the label has stuck. She has a new play at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester which digs into attitudes in Britain to the historical slave trade between Africa and the Caribbean.

Pinnock has encountered several people lately who were convinced British playwrights had already written about British involvement in the African slave trade – finally outlawed in 1833.

“In fact until recently almost no one here had written about it,” she says. “I suspect people remember certain films or they think of the African American plays which have been produced over the years. But that’s not our story.”

By “our story” Pinnock means all Britons, regardless of skin colour. More

‘Birdgirl’ Mya-Rose Craig receives Bristol University honorary doctorate

A teenage birdwatcher has urged students to “tackle the environmental crisis” as she received an honorary doctorate at the age of 17.

Mya-Rose Craig, also known as Birdgirl, set up Black2Nature to help engage more children from minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) in conservation.

She received the doctor of science degree from the University of Bristol.

The environmentalist posts on Twitter as BirdGirlUK and is thought to be the UK’s youngest recipient of the award. More

Providing our staff and students with a fair and inclusive environment

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan set out how we will provide an environment where you can flourish and achieve your full potential.

We want to see the university reflect the diversity of the community we serve.  To help us achieve this we are launching the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy 2019-22, along with our Action Plan. 

The key aims of the EDI strategy are:

  • Continue to focus on improving the numbers of under-represented groups across all levels of the university.
  • Aim to improve the educational achievement for all protected groups.
  • Ensure a more inclusive curriculum and culture.

We see diversity as a strength which should be encouraged, celebrated and promoted across our staff and student communities.

To find out more about the actions we will take view the full strategy and action plan.