Petition for teaching of BAME history in Wales’ schools signed by 10,000 in 12 hours

Star Wars actor John Boyega’s Speech in a protest against the killing of George Floyd in Hyde Park yesterday. Picture by MichealJones97 (CC BY-SA 4.0).

A petition calling for the history of BAME communities and colonial exploitation to be taught in Welsh schools has been signed by more than 10,000 people in just 12 hours.

The petition created by postgraduate student Angharad Owen calls on the Senedd to make it compulsory for all pupils to learn about the history of Wales’ minority communities and British colonialism.

The petition can be signed here.

Angharad Owen, who is MA history student at Manchester University, said the protests following the death of George Floyd were an opportunity for the Senedd to recognise the need for changing the curriculum.

“As a nation, Wales benefited from centuries of global colonialism and imperialism which has had a lasting legacy on Welsh BAME communities,” she said.

“One of the basest ways in which institutionalised racism and privileging of white history in Britain can be uncovered and combated is through the education of future generations with more representative and accurate tellings of history.

“This immense period of change and upheaval is an opportunity for the Senedd to act upon the necessity of including BAME history and culture in the education of young people across the country.

“The multicultural history of Wales is under-represented in the educational curriculum of Welsh students, and this needs to be rectified. This has been highlighted nationally by a number of BAME-led groups that have been campaigning for the inclusion of Black lived experiences and narratives into the historical content taught at schools.

“Groups like the Black Curriculum initiative and 1919 Race Riots Collective have highlighted just how vital this inclusion of diverse histories is. Change starts with education.”

A new curriculum will be introduced in Wales in 2022 but it does not set out exactly what history schools should be teaching, beyond an emphasis on the need for local history.

 

‘Difficult’

Angharad Owen said that the quick growth of the petition, which has become one of the fastest-growing on the Senedd site, showed how important the subject was to many.

“I hope that this inspires greater collective action to incite real and substantial change,” she said.

“During this period it is important classroom content is recognised as a vital structure to teach future generations, especially at a regional level, about diverse and often difficult histories.”

Where have people signed the petition?

  • North Wales: 1206
  • Mid and West Wales: 1551
  • South Wales Central: 3346
  • South Wales East: 1487
  • South Wales West: 1979
  • Outside Wales: 972

Who was George Floyd?

George Floyd’s death has sparked huge protests across the US and the world against racism and the police killings of black Americans.

The man 46 was stopped by police investigating the purchase of cigarettes with counterfeit money on 25 May in Minneapolis.

A video showed Floyd being arrested and a white police officer continuing to kneel on his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder, according to court documents.

Yesterday thousands joined a protest in London over the death. On Sunday a demonstration of 500 people also took place at Cardiff Castle.

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