Liverpool Hope University’s new diversity and inclusivity officers have revealed plans for a year-long ‘Everyday Racism’ awareness-raising campaign.
Rabia Begum, 24, is a second year Art & Design History and Psychology student and part of Hope’s Islamic Society (ISOC).
Meanwhile, Salem Eliakim-Ikechukwu, 19, is a first year Philosophy & Ethics student and member of the University’s Afro-Caribbean Society (ACS).
Together Rabia and Salem are Hope’s newest representatives on the North West-based Black Global Majority Student Network (BGMSN), an inter-university group dedicated to providing a platform for those from Black, Asian or any ethnic minority communities.
And the pair plan to lead a new initiative shining a light on everyday racism across society - while trying to seek solutions to the problem.
Rabia, originally from Oldham, Lancs, explains: “We’re hoping to address and tackle all of the different issues that make up everyday racism and which are often highlighted by the BGM community.
“We’ll be holding a series of events, meetings and webinars looking at things like unconscious bias, microaggressions, racial gaslighting and stereotyping.
“We’re also hoping to work with schools, community groups, and other student unions to try and get the entire community engaged with these issues.
“Fundamentally, we want to create a safe space to have all of these really important conversations.”
Salem, from Birmingham, adds: “With the Everyday Racism project we’re working to address and start a process of dismantling issues that are overlooked yet still affect the BGM community in their everyday lives.
“We want to work with professionals in the field and collaborate with charities and organisations so that we can really start to make a difference.”
To keep up to date on the events - including an upcoming evening with the Anthony Walker Foundation, a charity set up in the wake of the racially-motivated murder of Liverpool teenager Anthony Walker in 2005 - follow the BGMSN on Instagram @bgmstudentnetwork
To get involved and add a further voice to the conversation, you’re also encouraged to email: email@example.com
And as the entire Hope community looks ahead to October’s Black History Month, a recent graduate is also doing her bit to shine a light on everyday racism.
Louisa Patterson-Brown is Hope’s outgoing BAME officer, former Secretary of the Afro-Caribbean Society and Chair of the BGMSN.
She and BGM's youngest Member, Lethu Mpetha,17 have been handed their own show on the Melodic Distraction internet radio station, with studios a stone’s throw from Hope’s Liverpool city centre Creative Campus.
Louisa and Lethu’s show, called Inside Voices, goes out once a month. And their next instalment, which hits the airwaves at 2pm on Saturday 11th September, will be entitled ‘Black Student Diaries’.
Louisa explains: “We’re going to talk about what it means to be a black student in modern Britain, going from GCSEs, to A-Levels and then on to university.
“What sort of racial experiences have students gone through? How were the educational transitions experienced? And how have people been spoken to by their teachers and their peers?
“We want to provide a little bit of insight into our own experiences while encouraging others to share their own stories.
“We’ll also be playing some great music alongside the chat, too!”
Full details of Hope’s Black History Month celebrations will be announced in the coming weeks.