Black Lives Matter
Over 170 pupils and staff at St Michael's Middle School, Colehill came together at the end of a hard term to look beyond their own circumstance to say Black Lives Matter.
The school is still in a partial lockdown but even some pupils not currently in school joined for the morning by special arrangement to make the powerful statement using the 12m x 8m banner. It was first seen on Colmer Hill in near Bridport when displayed by the Curtains Up On Communities Theatre company who made the imposing banner from the currently unused theatre curtain at the Lyric Theatre, Bridport. A social media post shared by the company caught the eye of Headteacher Ron Jenkinson who then made plans to borrow it for school.
'Our pupils are outspoken and demand change. I am confident they will grow up to bring about the sort of change we all want to see in our world whether that is equity for all ethnicities or a more environmentally conscious economy. When I saw the banner I knew they would want to stand with it and say we have had enough of the racism that holds people of colour back. In fact, our school vision statement recognises that 'all people are made in the image of God and merit the best we can give' so for us this message needs living not just saying.
Staff and pupils at the popular Church of England Middle school have been proactively responding to the shocking media events during lockdown which have reminded all that society still has a long way to go in removing structural racism as well as balancing up the privilege which benefits some but not all in our society. One pupil in Year 5, Keziah Mbera has even taken the time during lockdown to set up a petition asking Mr. Jenkinson to do more. She said 'I would like for different cultures to be celebrated in schools and for children to understand what black people have faced in the past'; a challenge Mr. Jenkinson has gladly said he intends to live up to.
The school is grateful to ex-pupils Tom and Will Humphrey for their help in capturing the spectacular drone footage of the pupils who interrupted lessons to come out on the impressive school fields where the banner had been laid out. One of the school's English teachers, Mrs. Doherty said 'we cannot waste this moment to empower the voice of our young people to bring about change. I am just one of many colleagues at St Michael's who will ensure that our curriculum takes every opportunity to share inspiring stories of black, Asian and minority ethnic people who have shaped our nation and our world without the credit they deserve.'