Written by: SU President, Tonari Arikekpar https://www.upsu.com/representation/representatives/president/
Hello students! As your Students' Union President, I wanted to reflect on our celebration of Black History Month this past October, when we saluted pioneering black women who have paved the way.
Throughout history and still today, black women have broken barriers, innovated, led movements and inspired change. But too often, their stories and contributions go untold.
During the month, we learned about changemakers in various fields through events like storytelling, cooking demos, history tours and movie nights, with even more events still to come. It was a great time to learn about other cultures, stand up to racism, and focus on our wellbeing.
A memorable event was the book signing on October 24th for "The Lion Who Never Roared", which tells the incredible untold story of footballing legend Jack Leslie. I had the honor of attending with Alangel Joseph, the current football captain and second black captain in the team's history, along with Taiwo David, an international business student and Plymouth Argyle volunteer.
Jack's immense talent was denied solely because of the color of his skin. His story deserves to be told. While progress has been made since the 1920s, Jack's experience highlights how far we still need to go before true equality exists in football and society. I'm grateful to author Matt Tiller for sharing Jack's inspiring story and furthering important conversations on diversity in football history.
Events like this signing are a reminder to keep striving for justice and recognition of marginalized voices. Our differences make us stronger when embraced fully. The SU is proud to celebrate Jack Leslie's legacy and will continue using our platform to promote equality. See the Instagram post about this event on the SU platform here.
Tonari Arikekpar at the book signing for 'The Lion Who Never Roared'
Another impactful event was the REACH-UP Black Mentoring session on October 27th. I had the honor of hosting successful black leaders Alex and Jabo Butera of the Diversity Business Incubator, along with Pippa from the University of Plymouth Career Team.
The mentors shared their stories, obstacles overcome, and provided guidance to achieve our dreams. Hearing how they turned challenges into triumphs was incredibly motivational. The connections made are truly priceless.
A key takeaway was the importance of finding mentors and role models who've walked your desired path. Their experience helps guide your journey to success. REACH-UP encouraged us to expand our comfort zones, take risks, and soak up shared knowledge.
Let's keep celebrating black excellence year-round!
Who are the Black Icons and changemakers who inspire you? I'd love to hear your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos from the REACH-UP Black Mentoring session on October 27th: