SGS marks Black History Month
October was Black History Month in the UK and pupils and staff have taken part in a range of activities.
SGS History Project
During the year the SGS History department are making a series of podcasts which will be released at certain points throughout 2021-2022.
Black History Month was the focus of the first podcast and pupils from all Senior School year groups were invited to research a person or event that was an inspiration and record their findings.
The “They were an inspiration…” theme saw pupils speak about figures such as athlete Jesse Owens, the ninth Mansa of the Mali Empire Mansa Musa and a number of civil rights campaigners. One recording also looked at the origins of music genres such as jazz and the blues.
A huge crowd filled the Library to hear Maya Anderson and Hadiya Adam’s ‘Spotlight On…’ talk on the subject of ‘Black Discrimination in Medicine’.
In their talk, the Sixth Formers gave examples of birth disparities, talked about how the strong, black woman stereotype is damaging and made the audience aware of the contribution made by black pioneers – such as Mary Seacole and Henrietta Lacks – towards medicine.
Another ‘Spotlight On…’ talk, this time by Upper Sixth student Jack Stockton, focused on the topic of ‘Accent Discrimination’.
His presentation gave an insight into the areas of life that people face discrimination in due to their accents. This included in the workplace, with research indicating 80% of employers admitted to making ‘discriminating decisions’ based on accent, in education and in the media.
The Library staff created an inspirational window display celebrating black role models as part of Black History Month’s ‘Proud To Be’ theme. They also handpicked a number of books for pupils and staff to read.
John Amaechi talk
Old Stopfordian, organisational psychologist, elected Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, bestselling New York Times author, Founder of APS Intelligence and former NBA sportsman John Amaechi O.B.E. (OS 1989) spoke to Head of Psychology Mr Tom Buxton-Cope and former pupils Lydia Johnson and Panache Munaiwa (OS 2021) about prejudice, how to understand the concept of white privilege and how we can support each other in respecting difference as a school community.
The session reviewed a number of psychological studies on the concept of prejudice, highlighting the need for change. One of John’s most thought provoking statements from the session was “Don’t sacrifice people’s dignity on the altar of being cool for a second… be that person who chooses not to laugh, and maybe even challenge the inappropriate joke or comment.”
John’s session was shared in school as part of the Sixth Form assembly programme and pupils were encouraged to listen, to think and reflect on the experiences of others, and use their learning to inform positive choices when considering inclusion within SGS Sixth Form, the school and as they step out into wider society.
Lower Sixth resources
Head of Lower Sixth Mrs Katrina Britton and form tutors shared videos and resources with their forms.
- Radio 1 Xtra’s compilation of interviews, music and poetry pieces around Black History Month
- BBC One’s ‘Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners’ video
- AskAde’s ‘Is Britain Institutionally Racist’ video
- ‘Superheroes’, a video produced by Stormzy aimed at celebrating young people and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement
- A video of Clara Amfo and Nick Grimshaw asking each other questions about each other’s community – covering BLM and LGBTQAI+ issues.
Middle School assembly
Head of Middle School Mrs Jude Fitzgerald held an assembly on ‘Cultural Appreciation vs Cultural Appropriation’.
During the talk she spoke about covert racism and being an ally and she also shared a number of books, podcasts and shows for the SGS community to delve into.
- ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- ‘Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World’ by Layla F Saad
- ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’ by David Olusoga
- ‘About Race’ with Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Code Switch: NPR
- The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files
- 26 mini-films for exploring race, bias, and identity with students, NY Times
In House assemblies, the House Captains of Arden, Nicholson, Vernon and Warren held a Black History Month themed quiz.
Junior School pupils will be taking part in Black History Month activities after the half term break.
Black History Month was officially recognised by the US government in 1976 and was first celebrated in the UK in 1987. Find out more by visiting the Black History Month website.