In order to mark this year's Black History Month, we've invited Nina Munday, Edinburgh College's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, to share her reflections on the steps being taken to make the College as inclusive as possible.
Back in June 2020, as the Chief Executive of Fife Centre for Equality, I wrote a reflective article on Black Lives Matter which was sparked by the death of George Floyd. The article was a combination of an apology to the children and young people who continue to experience racial discrimination, harassment or bullying in their daily life because of the colour of their skin, and a pledge to change the power paradigm. My pledge was:
Let’s not talk about lessons learnt or next steps yet, let’s talk about how we need to protect our future generations from further harm. Let’s untangle some of the key issues so we are not kicking the same can down the timeline. Let’s talk of racial equality as part of anti-poverty. Let’s talk of anti-racism as part of inclusive education. Let’s talk of tackling hate as part of tackling serious crime.
In my current role as the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lead at Edinburgh College, I am putting my pledges into practice.
Before I joined, the College had already begun the conversation about decolonising the curriculum and introducing anti-racist education. The conversation will be an on-going process involving teaching staff from different faculties. The recent Black History Month event hosted by the Make Up Artistry team is a perfect example of anti-racist education. A lecturer identified that the staff and students were not equipped with skills to serve a diverse range of clients. Women and Non-Binary People of colour were recruited as models to enable students to practice their skills under the supervision of two award winning guest lecturers.
Routinely, the equality data gathered in all College processes are being reviewed, to ensure that we are not unwittingly disadvantaging our students or staff. Moreover, strategies are being developed to enhance the engagement and successes of all students and staff. To strengthen our commitment as an inclusive college, an easy-to-use process was introduced for students, staff and visitors to report hate and misogyny incident to Edinburgh College. Anyone in the College community is able to report any incident anonymously or with their contact details.
In my previous article, I also stated that the future generations will need to continue the fight to challenge injustices. Education is a multi-dimensional process. You too can educate the teaching and non-teaching staff by sharing your stories or ideas. Teach us what and how you want to learn. Use your assignments as a way to share histories and achievements that are missing from the teaching material. Be creative in introducing new concepts in your classroom debates. Join EC Students’ Association to champion equality rights for students across all campuses.
Most importantly, if you experience or witness unacceptable behaviour, tell someone.
Make your time at the College a rewarding experience. Each of us has a responsibility to make the College a better place for generations to come.
If you want to find out more about or get involved in equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives at Edinburgh College, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.