From one struggle to another struggle is mostly the story of the black student in the United Kingdom. The story of a Black student is one of survival.
Facing a 26% attainment gap, disproportionate representation in the unemployment market, and in the face of everyday racism, surviving till final year and making it to graduation needs to be celebrated. And this is what Black Impact intends to do through the ‘Class of‘ initiative.
The finale of the Class of 2020 was held on the 28th of August 2020 and broadcast live on Yanga! TV with notable members of the Black community from Lee Jasper, former deputy mayor of London, to Lord Simon Woolley; Baron of Woodford and member of the House of Lords in attendance.
Launched in July 2020, the “Class of 2020” graduation and awards event celebrates every Black graduating student in the UK and give them reasons to be proud of their achievement. The aim of Black Impact’s “Class of 2020” is to acknowledge the struggles, celebrate the successes, and share the inspiring stories of one generation of Black graduates to another and the world.
“After coming to the UK many years ago as an international student, I have been through so many struggles and moments of achievement alone. I have had many moments where I wished for a community to celebrate with me, and I longed for the opportunity to be celebrated and recognised and this is the experience of many Black students today.
After a summer of protests in which Black students have been reminded of all the things that are wrong within society, it only feels right to do something to bring some joy into the community and this is why I am so excited about the Class of 2020. Whether you’re graduating or not, the Class of 2020 will give every Black person something to be proud of.” Ceewhy Ochoga, Founder of Black Impact said.
According to the organisers, The Class of 2020 National Black graduates comes as a welcome antidote and celebration of Black success in the current climate and represents just one of the ways Black Impact is seeking a paradigm shift and anti-racist practice focused on Black employees and students.
For the awards, nominations were received from students right across England, Scotland and Wales, which were then scrutinised by an excellent panel of professional judges from various spheres of the Black community.
This year’s event was made possible working alongside Fifty Black sabbatical Officers across Twenty-two Student Unions in England and Wales; Black Impact is supported by various African and Caribbean Societies (ACS) across the country, and a wide range of National Black organisations.
See Quotes from winners:
Abigael Bamgboye, winner of the Black Entrepreneur Award
‘Being shortlisted for the Class of 2020 Awards was a huge confidence boost for me, and it was a real pleasure to be able to reflect on and share my accomplishments in the process of campaigning for votes. Black Impact is doing some phenomenal work to empower Black talent in the UK, so it is a total honour to be recognised through their process, and I look forward to collaborating with them in their mission to support ethical Black leadership!’
Promise Ahante, winner of both Leadership and All-rounder Awards
‘Winning the Leadership and All-rounder awards were significant to me. It is great to have myself and my activities recognised which provides an additional motivation to do more.
It is however more incredible to know that someone out there will be inspired to take action towards impacting their community. Black Impact has cast a stone which ripple effect would promote the rise of young Black leaders’.
Jaizzail Ofori, winner of both Academic Excellence and Resilience Awards
“I am sincerely grateful to have been nominated and voted for, for the Black impact Academic excellence and Resilience award. Recognition for your talent and hard work gives one the motivation to persevere and break down subconscious barriers which impede us from reaching our full potential!
Black Impact is therefore an amazing initiative which will encourage the rise of Black excellence”
Vincent Henry, winner of the Olympian Award
‘This award is acknowledgement with society that my efforts are admirable. And that my story will be shared with more people to impart, inspire them to achieve more or try something new.
It showcases that we can and should hold higher level educational aspirations and also hold high aspirations for the things we are passionate about.
This award is an honour and the recognition it brings is Powerful’.
Learn more about the finalists here.