"Who Am I?" - Reflecting on Black History Month's open lecture about race

By Clara Maurillon - 26 October 2022

In honour of Black History Month 2022, the Staff Race Equality Network and the Race Action Group organised an open lecture entitled "Who Am I?" on Thursday 20 October. The event, also part of the university's Vibrant Campus initiative, saw internal and external speakers address an audience of 30 staff members and students.

Emmanuel Akerele, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Adviser, shares more about the event:

"The event was put on to promote race inclusion and educate staff and students on the importance of celebrating cultural diversity at the university and creating safe spaces for discussions that encourage individuals and groups to come together and examine issues around race and ethnicity. Our speakers were James Njuguna (RGU Lecturer) and Olushola Ajide (RGU Alumnus).

"The event was themed "Who Am I?" and inspired our speakers to explore issues around race and racism, discussing the different kind of issues individuals face. They highlighted what racism could look like, and encouraged the audience to take action and get involved in discussions and activities that promote race inclusion at RGU.

"The delivery of the speakers were insightful and thought-provoking. Staff and students were able to network and had the opportunity to get to know the staff and student networks and action groups with a presentation from the staff Race Champion Leila Neshat Mokadem. I am overall happy with the event but I would like to see wider participation from the university community in the Race Action Group and Staff Race Network in the future."


The event was wrapped up with a social gathering around some food and drinks, which was an opportunity for the audience to reflect on what they had learned.

Esther Onosedeba Erewafe, Vice-President (Community) 

"I attended the event today to represent the Black community, as well as RGU:Union as the Vice President (Community). The Race Equality Network and Race Action Group are great opportunities for staff and students to get involved in improving inclusion.

"One of the speakers said something today that resonated with me which was that we all have the same blood running through our veins. That we can take action by treating everyone with dignity and respect and by being proud of who we are. My main takeaway from today then would be: to be proud of who you are, keep an open mind, interact with your peers, and learn from each other, because that’s the best thing you can do."

Alexander Oburoh, Doctor of Philosophy



"The theme and the conversation of the event interested me. The theme of “Who Am I?” helped me do some self-reflection, and really ask myself “where do I come from?”, “what are my cultural attributes?” and “where do I see myself in the new environment that I’m in, in the UK?”.

"Dr James’ lecture made me actually think about some of the things that I take for granted sometimes. It’s important to step back and ask yourself “why do I act the way I do?”, “why is the system responding to me in this way?”. For me, this event has been a very self-reflective moment. I am very happy that I came."

Chioma Onoshakpor, Lecturer at Aberdeen Business School


"I am part of the Race Equality Network. I work with Leila to support and contribute to the work that the network is doing in ensuring that members of staff can be more comfortable in their daily lives at work. I attended the event to listen to other people’s experiences and see the work the university is doing.

"My main takeaway would be that change does not happen overnight but is a gradual process, we should be kind and continuously open to learning. That taking action include raising awareness and educating oneself and others through safe spaces like the staff Race Network and Race Action Group. Identify your own biases, take action to tackle them, and challenge unacceptable behaviour. Everyone should have a big heart, understand, and respect their peers."

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