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Society Spotlight: African Caribbean Society

JAGS is brimming with a diverse range of co-curricular groups and activities for our pupils to enjoy.

Many of which are created and led by the pupils involved. We wanted to celebrate these societies and clubs which so enrich the fabric of our school life.

First-up, we have the African Caribbean Society (ACS).

It has already been a busy term for ACS! The society’s Sixth Form leaders delivered a brilliant assembly on the Bristol Bus Boycott as the school marked the start of Black History Month and each week they can be found leading wide-ranging discussions between pupils of all year groups.

Below, Maria, Beulah, Chanelle, Fareedah and Rachel explain the importance of ACS, the thinking behind their recent assembly and exciting plans for the future: 

  • It enabled us to establish a safe space

Primarily, joining the society was important because it enabled us to establish a safe space and a legacy within our community for future generations of Black students, not just today’s.

We wanted to join the society because we see educating about African-Caribbean culture beyond the school curriculum as a vital aspect of our education. This is because it has helped us solidify our own sense of identity within the school community.

Joining ACS allowed us to make connections with African and Caribbean students across different year groups. This has enriched our experience and strengthened our sense of community across year groups which wouldn’t otherwise mix.

Finally, we wanted to join the society as it gave us the opportunity to assume a leadership position as Sixth Form students. This places us in a role that younger Black students can aspire to become which is a great privilege.

  • Sense of community

One of the things that we enjoy most about ACS is the sense of community.

Although we include all year groups the age gap is never something that has been an issue as everyone is always very keen to get involved in discussions.

Everyone feels comfortable enough to express their own view points and contribute to discussions.

On top of this, the vibes of ACS will always be something we will remember. Each week we seem to grow closer as a group even though before we started most of us didn’t know a lot of the members.

One final thing that we enjoy about ACS is that we are able to have very serious discussions but also have a laugh and both of these things, for me, make ACS feel more inclusive. Each week we work to achieve a group discussion of different topic areas all the way from ‘Notting Hill Carnival ‘ and ‘Black influences on fashion’ all the way up to ‘Black Education’ and ‘Black people in healthcare’.

Through discussing these we also hope to educate the members of ACS and in turn be educated ourselves through their viewpoints and contributions.

  • Listening and learning 

We would love that any JAGS student who feels as though they would like to have a sense of community and representation in their African or Caribbean culture should feel welcome to join!

Our society is composed of a wide mix of students from the diaspora – from Ghana to Jamaica to Egypt – who are all keen to listen and learn from the experiences of others.

And most importantly, we want to stress that the African-Caribbean society is a safe space and open to the entire African and Caribbean JAGS community.

  • Black History Month

When thinking about what we wanted to include in the Black History Month assembly, we really had to consider the message that we wanted to send and what we were trying to achieve through the assembly.

Primarily, we were focused on educating and informing the school community on the experiences of Black British people. Thus, we concluded on The Bristol Bus Boycott as the topic of our assembly.

When putting the assembly together we tried to make it as easy to understand as possible, so, in that moment, the school community was able to appreciate what The Bristol Bus Boycott was and the hardship that Black people faced leading up to it, but also the liberation that they must have felt during it.

Therefore, on presenting our assembly to the school, we were filled with a sense of pride at being able to convey such an important experience to the JAGS school community clearly.

  • Future plans

Restarting the African Caribbean Society is just the start of way more things to come.

The weekly sessions are just the beginning of what we hope will be a timeless celebration of our culture in JAGS.

As it is only early days, most of our future plans are still in the works such as: fashion shows; food celebrations and an international evening inspired by Dulwich College, which will of course showcase all other cultures around the world.

We hope to lead more assemblies with not just the Sixth Form leaders but the student members in secondary school also.

Lastly, we are particularly interested in planning and suggesting educational trips that will enlighten and inspire all students in the school.

Personally speaking, we are immensely warmed and encouraged by the progress JAGS has made in celebrating diverse cultures and pleased that we can have our own impact and influence and hope that even beyond our time at JAGS the club continues to run with bigger and better ideas.

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