What is Black Conversations (BC)?
BC is an interactive platform that aims to provide a space where people of African descent can engage in discussions and debate about our communities. The organisation seeks to engage diverse perspectives to understand the Black experience. It is a space where our opinions are uplifted and empowered, deconstructing systemic dynamics established by non-Blacks who often dominate the discourse and policies shaping Black communities. BC strives to put Black people at the forefront of these discussions by promoting leadership, self-expression, agency, autonomy and accountability. It is a platform where we are heard and validated. BC wants to be a starting point in facilitating a sustained, positive change.
What contributions does BC make to the Graduate Institute community?
Discussions around issues affecting Black communities may be difficult to have in the classroom settings of the Graduate Institute due to paucity of knowledge, fear of committing a cultural faux pas, and/or sounding culturally insensitive. BC is a call-in space where we can respectfully voice our disagreements and grievances without sanitising them or causing ostracisation. It helps its members dismantle stereotypes by understanding the conception of Blackness within distinct Black communities, beyond what is commonly portrayed by the media. Members who are discontent with the status quo can work towards changing the undesirables. The aim of these discussions is for BC members to pivot away from saviour complexes and think critically about how they can have a community-centred approach to problem-solving.
How does BC participate in global discussion/action on race and race relations?
BC aims to have nuanced conversations about race and its members' contributions to social progress, providing a complete and complex representation of Black individuals in world-spaces. In addition, our conversations focus on the intended and unintended consequences that structural racism has on the development and economic policies of Black communities worldwide. Furthermore, in partnership with the Afrique Students Association, BC is seeking leaders and professionals within the African and Caribbean communities to serve as mentors.
What is your hope for this initiative moving forward?
BC hopes to collaborate with student and professional organisations to continue promoting positive empowerment and self-determination. Thus, BC encourages having a critical understanding of the issues that thwarts the socio-economic development of Black communities to focus on positive problem-solving.
President: Diandra Dillon
Currently recruiting a new board