We Are Proud to Be

This year, Black History Month focused on the national campaign of Proud To Be. We used this opportunity to give the spotlight to our Black community and asked students to share what they are #ProudToBe. Check out Shaniya, Shanice and Jade’s Proud To Be stories.

This year, Black History Month focused on the national campaign of Proud To Be. This theme aimed to strike a personal and reflective tone to individuals, families and communities inviting deep and meaningful conversation. For us at the Students' Union, we used this opportunity to give the spotlight to our Black community and asked students to share what they are #ProudToBe.

Check out Shaniya, Shanice and Jade’s Proud To Be stories:

Shaniya Odulawa

 

 

My name is Shaniya Odulawa and I am proud to be exactly where I am. If you don’t know what that means it’s simply that I am glad to be alive and living in this exact moment. I feel like a lot of my life I have been wishing for the next step, the next goal, the next rush you get from an achievement, so much so that once I got there I didn’t even fully enjoy it. I relied so much on my academic achievements to shape who I am that when I started to struggle I broke down and I’m still trying to get back up. Last year, I found that this struggle was ADHD and depression and I’m still learning to deal with that. This past year, I’ve had to reshape my personality to be more than just an overachiever but something more and someone more. I’m proud that I am not looking for the next thing to tick off on my “things to achieve before 25 list” but being proud of what I’ve achieved now. I am so proud to be President of the African-Caribbean Society (ACS) this year and I can’t wait to lead my members.

Shanice George

 

 

Growing up mixed-race and being part of a household where I had the combination of British and Caribbean influences gave me the best insight into the importance of collaboration and the true power love has over everything. My parents both came from hard backgrounds and started their journey together with few qualifications nor much money. For me now being in my third year of university - the first person in my family to get to this point - an ex-GB gymnast, having traveled the world representing my country as the only Black, mixed-race, member of the team and looking to pursue a career in fighting racial injustice after uni - nothing makes me prouder than using the gifts my parents gave me. The power I have in being a Black, mixed-race female, to show people, no matter who you are, or where you come from, hard work, perseverance and pride will always win. I am #ProudToBe.

Jade Goble

 

 

I am proud to be Black because there is a sense of belonging to a community that ties us all together through things such as shared culture and experiences. Although I am bi-racial and acknowledge that I personally do not face some of the hardships associated with being a Black person in society to the extent that other people do, I empathise with the struggle and look forward to the time when the discrimination will finally cease to exist. Black History Month to me serves as a time of celebration and reflection of the things we have achieved as a community over the years and the accomplishments that we can aspire to achieve in time. It is important that we take the time to recognise the immense amount of history within our culture as it is not always at the forefront of education and it serves as an opportunity to enlighten those around us to the experiences that make our community strong.

Elliot Perlic

 

The theme I have chosen is 'Proud To Be Black and Queer' so I have written a poem called 'How I Choose to Remember' which is about the different struggles Queer and Black people have faced and how far we have come to gain social equality.

Elliot is the VP for The Student Workshop, a student-run theatre company affiliated with the University's Drama department.

Read the poem

Why we love #ProudToBe

Black History Month is an annual celebration that allows everyone regardless of race/ethnicity, to get involved. It’s all too often that conversations involving race lead back to discrimination, harassment and racism. Whilst these topics are crucial and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure we discuss and enact change, it’s also extremely valuable and relevant to go beyond such topics. It’s important that we, as a student body, look within our own communities to celebrate Black students that deserve recognition and a platform to share their stories and achievements.

Do you have any thoughts on this, or want to discuss anything further? Please feel free to reach out to me at president@su.rhul.ac.uk.