The Democratic Education Network (DEN) at the University of Westminster have gathered in a video to explain what Black History Month is and why it is important to celebrate it.
DEN is a nationally recognised student-focused initiative funded by Quintin Hogg Trust and hosted by the School of Social Sciences at the University of Westminster which aims to inspire and encourage students to engage locally and globally while enhancing their employability skills.
The academic, student-led organisation promotes social action and student engagement through local and international projects that solidify and enhance student experience, providing numerous opportunities to transform ideas into reality and make a difference in the world. As a global platform to engage students, DEN encourages students to freely move around different projects and express their interests and passion for different areas, including Black History Month.
In the video, students from the University of Westminster and members of DEN spoke about what Black History Month is and what it means to them, as well as highlighting its importance and why it should be celebrated.
For example, Politics and International Relations BA Honours student Israa Warsama spoke about how Black History Month is a time where Black people are acknowledged and celebrated for their achievements and where we learn about the struggles that the Black community have faced.
Other students spoke about how Black History Month celebrates and remembers important Black people and events, recognising the central roles of Black people in history and present. The video also covered the importance of the month’s celebrations to eliminate incorrect stereotypes of Black people by educating society. International Relations and Development BA Honours student Olawale David Awoyinka said that we can achieve this through: “the celebration of Black History Month. We say we are great, we are beautiful, we are unapologetically black, and we are proud to be.”
Students also spoke about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, shedding light on the systematic discrimination of Black communities. Odayne Haughton said: “We must now more than ever recognise and honour the struggles and battles by Black men and women that we faced to overcome for the fight for equality and we should take this opportunity to stand with our black staff and students and renew our commitment towards true equality, diversity and inclusion for everyone.”
Laura Ifeoma Nwogu spoke about the importance of Black influence through music of all genres such as Hip-Hop, Raggaeton, Jazz, Swing, R&B and Soul. She also noted how other inventions created by Black individuals are being pushed to the forefront of the conversation through Black History Month, illustrating how much of our lives has been influenced by Black culture.
Talking about the Black History Month video, Academic Director of the Democratic Education Network Dr Farhang Morady, said: “During uncertain times like the one we are all experiencing, colleagues and students can turn their hopes and dreams into reality only by working together. Black History Month is not just about remembering a past but is also a struggle for a different world, a just world, a better world”.
Watch the full video on the DEN YouTube channel.
Learn more about DEN and its activities on the DEN magazine's website.