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#write4change Race, Gender and Sexualities Research Group Blogs for Black History Month 2021

Dr Shaminder Takhar, Associate Professor of Sociology, Co-Lead of the Race, Gender and Sexualities Research Group and  Chair of EquiNet

At London South Bank University, we have come to the end of Black History Month, 2021 during which we have seen the celebration of National Poetry Day with poets such as Nairobi Thompson and Poetic Unity. With the theme of this year’s celebration ‘Proud to Be’, we are proud to have hosted a wide range of events that have included speaking to the inspirational Dame Elizabeth Anionwu about her new book, Dreams From My Mother, TV Doctor Dr Ronx speaking on LGBTQ+ issues and Karen Arthur’s work on menopause. We also welcomed back Black History Walks for another insightful and interactive virtual walk. We turned our attention to issues such as the Racial Awarding Gap which is closely linked with decolonising the curriculum and is the subject of one of the blogs in the series #writeforchange by Becky Shepherd who takes us on a journey to show how we can develop an anti-racist academy with anti-racist pedagogical practices. This is particularly important in her discipline, Criminology which she describes as ‘steeped in coloniality’. Sami Pinarbasi’s blog explains why he is campaigning for the removal of Robert Peel’s statue which occupies a central ideological space in Manchester and is a monument to colonialism. The blog informs us of the importance of history and that statues are not neutral, evidenced in the removal of Edward Colston’s statue in 2020 at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. The link to slavery and the wealth it brought to individuals such as Peel and Colston have been brought into sharp relief and entered the psyche of individuals by the #BLM movement which is the subject of my blog. Despite the #BLM movement being misunderstood, it has captured the imagination of citizens across the globe and has been hailed as the new civil rights movement and shows the capability of human political agency to protest not just against racism but misogyny and climate change ahead of COP26 in November 2021. We hope you enjoy the three blogs which are reflections on the intertwined nature of history and contemporary times.