Why does Black History Month matter to you?
Black History Month is an important time for all of us to learn and grow. By celebrating Black history and culture, we can help to create a more inclusive and equitable future for all.
In recent years, there has been an increased willingness and eagerness for people to listen to the stories and experiences of Black people. This is a positive development, but it is important not to forget that Black people have been speaking out about racism and injustice for centuries.
The college is committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background. Black History Month is an opportunity for us to double down on that commitment and to ensure that all of our students feel seen, heard, and valued. It is especially important to tackle any systemic racism that persists in our society, including in educational institutions.
What is BCoT doing to make a difference?
BCoT is working hard to create a more inclusive college and to take a stand against racism. For the college, Black Lives Matter created a catalyst for change and a greater sense of urgency. We recognised that we needed to do much better and make positive changes within the BCoT culture to take a stand against racism.
One of the ways that BCoT is making a difference is through the Unity Group. The Unity Group is a staff-led group that provides regular training and a platform for minority staff to share their stories and experiences. By sharing their personal stories, staff have gained a deeper understanding of the issues faced by minority staff, which has contributed to a culture of empathy, understanding, and increased knowledge. This knowledge can empower individuals to make decisions to promote and foster equality in ways such as speaking up when situations arise, such as if one person is treated differently from another.
The Unity Group also conducted a research project with the Black Leadership Group to conduct individual "lived experience" interviews with an invited group of Black and minoritised students. The findings of this research were hard-hitting and are now shared within the college's anti-racism training for all staff. This training helps staff to identify and address subtle, often unintentional biases in their language and behaviour.
The Unity Group's positive impact has led to the establishment of a student International Group to provide a student voice in these activities. The Unity Group's focus is also evolving to include other aspects of EDI, including disability awareness, LGBTQ+ rights, and menopause awareness. The college was recently awarded College of Sanctuary status for its commitment to supporting Sanctuary Seeking learners, where it has seen a large growth in numbers over the last couple of years.