What Black Heritage Means to Me

Date 6 November 2023

We’ve recently celebrated Black History month here at UON, and we got to thinking what does Black heritage mean to individual students?

Chizoba Sylvester Okonkwo

Heritage according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary means something transmitted by one’s predecessor or possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth. My interpretation of what Black heritage means flows from the above definition. Over the years, the word “Blacks” has been used to describe a particular set of people, mainly Africans. Being an African, I see Black heritage as the past years of struggles to be recognised as human beings who should be treated with respect and dignity. Black heritage is a term that encompasses the rich and diverse histories, cultures, and contributions of persons of African descent. It is a celebration of the significant advancements made in various fields such as science, art, music, business and politics.

More importantly, Black heritage is not just about the past events and people alone, it is equally about the lessons learnt from these events and people. How these lessons are applied towards shaping the future is equally part of the black heritage. In essence, Black heritage is a compilation of stories, events, people, experiences, failures, and successes that we have seen, heard and experienced, which help shape our decisions and goals. They drive us towards achieving our goals and correcting the wrong narration. Finally, black heritage involves making positive contributions to the black heritage.

For Black History month, we celebrated all the wonderful influential Black females in the UK. This celebration is to uplift all the exceptional women.

In all sectors and institutions in the UK making a difference and changing the narrative about their womanhood and their capabilities. Here at UON, we are shining a light on how Black female academics and professional services who continue to break ground and live authentically loud and proud.

Lastly, at UON we have a group called the Black Student Advocates. We are a body of seven existing students who are here to support, enrich and positively develop the Black community’s student experience. The Black Student Advocates work for the Students’ Union and with the University to identify and fulfil the needs of the Black community. Events such as the Black History Month Games Night have been held to celebrate the community, but importantly we also work to hear from students, represent those voices and support or make initiatives to improve Black student experience.

If you want to learn more about Black Student Advocates or share your voice, please reach out to us.

A photo of Chizoba Sylvester Okonkwo who is a student at the University of Northampton studying for a Masters in Business Administration
Chizoba Sylvester Okonkwo

Sylvester is a Nigerian studying for his Master of Business Administration at the University of Northampton. He is a member of the Black Student Advocates at the University.