During October 2019, AUC celebrated Black History Month for the first time. Various events were organised by the Student Life Officer and the Well-Being Team in collaboration with the AUC Student Council (AUCSC) and various AUC Student Association (AUCSA) committees. The purpose of the month was to facilitate discussions on diversity and the experiences of people of colour at AUC while also celebrating the cultural richness and diversity at AUC. The month provided students with a wide selection of activities to get involved in, ranging from cultural events, such as movie nights, to more practical discussions, such as focus groups.
The celebration of Black History Month originated in the United States during the early 20th century (taking place in February) and found its way to the United Kingdom in the 1980s (taking place in October). This month originally began with the goal of recognising the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made over many generations in diverse locations. Over time, its importance has also been observed (officially and unofficially) in other countries, including the Netherlands.
The month began at AUC with a kick-off event on 1 October which sought to raise awareness of the upcoming events and further explain the purpose of the month. This was followed by a film screening of "If Beale Street Could Talk”, organised by AUCSA Committee CUT and a POC potluck dinner, initiated and organised by students. Students were also given the opportunity to explore their creative side by making posters of black achievers during an arts and crafts session organised by Peer Support and AUCSA Committee ART.
Towards the end of the month, the AUCSC held a focus group on the experiences of people of color at AUC. The event provided the Student Council with much-valued feedback on diversity at AUC, as well as allowing students to speak for themselves and to recount their own experiences and perceptions of diversity policy at AUC. Along with this focus group, the AUCSA Diversity Commission also organised two events in which students were able to informally talk about topics such as intersectionality and traditions during Black History themed editions of their monthly events "AUQueer" and “Let’s Talk".
The Black History Month celebration at AUC owes its success to the dedicated students and committees that helped to organise the get-togethers and celebratory events. AUC would like to thank these students and participants for creating an inspiring and insightful series of events.