7 October 2021
On Friday 1 October, Northampton High School were delighted to kick off their Black History Month events in grand fashion, as they welcomed a very special guest into school. Writer-poet, speaker, educator, and Northampton Male Role Model of the Year (2020) Tré Ventour visited the school to lead seminars with students in years 8, 9, 10 and 11, before hosting a lunchtime Q&A session with students in the Sixth Form.
During the seminar sessions, Tré and the students explored various poems as well as the creation and consequences of race. After showing a video reading of a very powerful poem ‘Wake Up’, by AFLO (with Priss Nash), Tré spoke to students about ‘Whiteness’, its reality and consequences, as well as the context and legacy of empire, colonialism and capitalism, and the invention of the concept of race post 1661 in order to enforce exploitation and empire. How do we question and understand whiteness and how do we challenge the density of language which creates distorted narratives that reinforce institutional racism? Tré then invited participants to consider beauty in relation to ‘whiteness’ and finally to question white privilege as something that is assumed and unchallenged, along with its traumatic impact on the health of people of colour – and not to make it about ‘me as White’, not to whitewash or erase history. Learn, and change the system.
Tré’s honesty, intellect and compassion compelled audiences and opened minds in what was a truly insightful day. The school looks forward to continuing their Black History Month celebrations throughout October.