Our first event to mark Eastbrook’s showcase of Black Excellence was The Racial Youth Summit was Friday, 1st October hosted by the Game Changer with speakers including
· Deputy Mayor Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard – London’s lead for Social Justice.
· Peter Brathwaite – celebrated baritone and visual artist whose work centers around Black figures, whose stories have previously been marginalised or erased.
Our contingent included 20 students, across years 7-10 representing wide cross section of Eastbrook’s diverse community, joined many other schools listening to accounts of the guests and discussing issues related to:
- The importance of recognising racism as structural as oppose to individual incidences
- How to tackle racism in school
- The racism around black hair
- How to be a good ally
- The importance of pushing for change for black people in school, work and other parts of society.
The summit provided opportunities for our brilliant students to ask some searching and uncomfortable questions to the panel. Some of the questions our students posed to the speakers were:
– Why do you think Black History Month is only one month long?
– How would you react if some social media platforms are against supporting Black Lives Matter?
– Have you ever felt unheard?
– Have you ever felt uncomfortable, as a black man, when an audience reacts negatively to you and your work?
– Why do you think workplaces generalise what our hair should look like?
– Do you think teachers acknowledge how they could be prejudice against black hair?
– Do you think fitting into a stereotype is wrong?
– How can we be more inclusive as a school?
Black Excellence aims to empower our students, dispel discerning beliefs around race and allow our school to be a safe space for all students. We refuse to restrict Black History Month to one month and aim to embed it into our school ethos.
A special shout-out to all the students who attended, especially Shannai Williams (10H) for her constant contribution and for making us PROUD.