Opinion: Be confident in challenging racism

NewVIc's Mandeep Gill ensures students leave "with a strong sense of what it means to be a good citi

NewVIc's Mandeep Gill ensures students leave "with a strong sense of what it means to be a good citizen". - Credit: Archant

We must all be confident in talking about racism and bold in calling it out.

The recent events in the US and UK have shone a clear light on racial inequality and injustice happening in our society.

The killing of George Floyd at the hands of the American police and the recent reports of Covid-19 related deaths within British BAME communities have caused great personal distress from our students and staff.

Racism is something that all of society needs to understand and work together on to right this historic wrong. We must stand up for issues even though they might not directly affect us.

We must seek to empathise with the struggles of marginalised and oppressed groups, even though we cannot fully understand that same oppression. We must make a conscious effort to be aware of unconscious bias.

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As a society, we are standing at a precipice where we can make a truly historic difference. Protests, demonstrations and changes in the law have gathered momentum, so what next?

As a college, NewVIc has always sought to create a sense of belonging for our most marginalised and under-represented students and any form of discrimination is absolutely opposed to our values.

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Our purpose is to ensure that all our students leave college with a strong sense of what it means to be a good citizen and can use their voice and education to make the world a better place for everyone. Now is the time to go further still.

True impact comes when we demonstrate, and encourage those around us, to practice the equality that we want to see.

So here is a challenge for all of us, one that I will pose to my staff and students too. We must be confident in standing up to racism by educating and challenging the people we have influence over.

Who is that person in our friendship group, family or local community that we personally know could be doing more to help? Who is that person who we can educate and challenge to think differently? If each of us is able to change the view of one person, the collective impact on racial attitudes within society will be significant.

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