De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) has a whole host of events planned this October – all in the name of Black History Month 2017.
The month is an international annual celebration recognising and valuing inspirational individuals and events from within black communities across the world.
Jessica Okwuonu, VP Welfare and Community at DSU, is the first female black full-time member of DSU’s Officer Team, and is leading the festivities at De Montfort University (DMU).
She said: “Black History Month is all about celebrating the achievements of black people around the world.
“It’s important that we acknowledge Black History Month, because it can be easy to say ‘racism doesn’t exist’, but we have seen such a rise in discrimination across the world; and I don’t think it’s talked about enough.
“This year, here at DSU, we want to focus on the achievements of black staff and students right here in the UK.”
The month will feature film nights examining black history (here, here and here), an Open Mic Night on Friday 6 October to celebrate the talents of students and staff alike, and #TheBigCelebration at the end of the month to bring the festivities to a climax.
The Black History Month gallery features faces such as legendary rapper and producer Jay-Z alongside civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
But the centrepiece of the celebrations is a Black History Month gallery featured on the main Campus Centre staircase, which will be added to throughout October.
“On one side of the gallery, we’ll be examining the history of black Britain,” Jessica continued. “I think it’s important, because a lot of the time we only hear about black America.
“Then on the other side we’ll have pictures of students, staff, and other notable people who have – and are – making a positive impact in the world.”
Notable members of the gallery so far include names such as Barack Obama, Akala and current National Union of Students (NUS) President Shakira Martin.
There are also some faces from a little closer to home; Jessica, and VP Student Activities Derrick Mensah as well as DMU’s Chancellor, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE.
“Baroness Lawrence has overcome such adversity,” Jessica explained. “She’s a real advocate for the community, and the fact that she’s our Chancellor here at DMU makes it even better.”
Jessica is the first female black full-time member of our Officer Team. Read more here.
Milly Lane’s will also be getting in on the action, flying African-Caribbean flags throughout the month and serving food Caribbean-inspired food during the third and fourth weeks of October.
We’ll also be taking music requests to play some of your favourite black artists downstairs in the Campus Centre.
But what’s Jessica most looking forward to?
“I can’t wait for the Open Mic Night this Friday. The theme is ‘all things positive’, and we will have people rapping, singing, and dancing, and I want to invite students and staff – whatever your talent – to come and showcase it.”
You can find out more about Black History Month on our events page here.
Black History Month is an international annual celebration recognising and valuing inspirational individuals and events from within black communities across the world.