Students support Black Lives Matter movement
Following the death of George Floyd, a group of our Sixth Form students have been reflecting on the racial injustice found in our country. Lottie Gleisinger, in Year 13, has shared news of their work with us and their recent involvement in the BLM demonstration in Richmond.
Mrs Potter, Headteacher, said: “As a school and college, we were hugely impressed at the commitment of our students to the BLM campaign. They have subsequently engaged in a very useful debate with staff and I am delighted that they will be involved in shaping aspects of the curriculum so that serious issues of racial equality are better represented. We know that the very best school improvement work occurs when students play a key role.”
Lottie reported: “We felt compelled to show our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and organised a gathering to show how important we felt it was to be part of such a significant moment in our lives.
“It was important to us that in joining with another local anti-racism group, our protest was peaceful and respectful of our local community. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were extremely conscious of the need to abide by the social distancing rules. However, we were determined that we were going to put our message across, even in these difficult times, as this is an issue that has been raised to the fore – it is happening now.
“It was a proud moment to see so many students from Richmond School and Sixth Form College attend the protest. One of our Year 12 students, Rania Abdulghani, made a profoundly moving speech. She spoke of her first-hand experiences of racism and highlighted the importance of how education must illuminate the systemic nature of racism in our society. We need to show a willingness to learn, listen and, ultimately, change in order to make progress.
“At Richmond School, we have children from many ethnicities. The Black Lives Matter movement has given us a chance to really think about how, as a school, we represent all of our students. We feel passionately about this and know that it is a necessity to talk about this in our own community.
“After our protest on Sunday, it is clear that many of our students want to effect change. To paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King Jr, ‘If we keep pushing, the arc of history will bend ever closer towards justice’. We can’t view this as an issue that BAME communities have to contend with separately.”
Photographs by Lang Hall