Hello, and welcome to the first UBEM blog! This is slightly belated (wholly my fault), but nevertheless it exists! The purpose of which is to speak for UBEM, or University of Bristol Ethnic Minorities, a new creation that acts more as an extension of your BME officers, Seun Matiluko and Radhika Jani, than an actual society.
If you are a racialised ethnic minority, then this network is specifically for you, your issues and your journey through university. Not only will your officers and the elected committee work to bring BME issues to the forefront of the mainstream conversation (check out all the events we’ve got planned for Black History Month now!), but we’ll organise as many social interactions as we can to help you find people you can identify with.
Personally, going into 2nd year at Bristol has a distinctly different feel to last year when I arrived for the first time. Most of the reasons are obvious: familiarity with the city, established friends, knowledge of what to expect from your course etc. But there is another level to all of this that, I believe, only comes with being a person of colour Bristol.
Now whether you’re a fresher just discovering this, or a hardened upper year who has come to terms with it, it is not difficult to recognise that the University is lacking when it comes to ethnic minorities. Although I had been warned about it prior to my arrival, I was still disappointed at the tiny pool of POCs that I had to choose from for friends. Thankfully, I think this situation actually bonded a lot of us more quickly than it would have otherwise.
Thinking back to how I felt in first term, desperate to join a cultural society and meet people who looked a bit more like me, propels forward this year to make sure that no one entering the University has to feel that same type of desperation and isolation. The aim of UBEM is to make our visibility obvious on campus. No longer can we be a silent minority when our voices are raised together.