Black History Month, October 2019
Our culture has been enriched and our society has been made stronger because of the people who travelled here to build new lives in the UK, as well as the achievements and contributions of their descendants.
The union's theme for Black History Month (BHM) in October is challenging negative attitudes to migration.
We are asking teachers to help us to create a more positive approach in the classroom to the issue of migration. Belonging is critical for children and young people to be at their best and ready to learn.
In the UK the negative conceptualisation of migrants, immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, undocumented people has been reinforced by Brexit, the 'hostile environment' policy, and attitudes to Windrush and Grenfell. Racism and hate crime against Black and minority ethnic people has risen sharply in the last two years. A survey shows 71% of people from ethnic minorities faced discrimination, up from 58%.
Belonging is critical for children and young people to be at their best and ready to learn and for migrant and all teachers to be able to teach with confidence and excellence, however it seems, it is not a choice all are free to make, and is rather at the whim of narratives about outsiders or strangers.
Black and Minority Ethnic teachers, governors, pupils, parents will sadly be all too familiar with the seemingly benign questions of where they are from and if they say Manchester or another UK place the follow up will be
I mean where are you really from. More harmful are the jeers we've heard about post Brexit of
why are you still here? and the physical attacks on many people who are perceived to be migrants — even if they are not. This goes hand in hand and is escalated by anti-Muslim racism, which leaves Muslims in constant fear of being attacked — especially hijab wearing women.
Racism and general anti migrant hostility are dangerous and a scourge on a civilized, democratic country which otherwise prides itself on fairness and respect for others.
What you can do:
1. Download our posters from the neu website with ideas for classroom use
2. Wear Red Day on October 18 - organised by Show Racism the Red Card
3. Go to the neu.org.uk/black-history-month for external useful links for lesson plans and extra resources
Black History Month in Leicester and the East Midlands
Also be aware that there are lots of events in the city over the next month.
The theme for BHM 2019 in the East Midlands is Archiving the Past, Reflecting the Future, which will focus on Black British history and the contribution of the African and African Caribbean community to the artistic and cultural heritage of the East Midlands over the last 80 years.
Go to serendipity-uk.com/black-history-month-leicester/ for the full schedule of events in Leicester.