Statement on BEM Officer and future representation

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Last week, the Students’ Union Elected Officer team made a statement on the recent racial injustice, which can be found here

The fight against racism does not end with a statement, the Students’ Union Elected Officer team are continuing to address and tackle racism that exists on campus and in wider society.

This has included: 

  • Seeking extenuating circumstances for black students currently affected by the racial injustice 
  • Lobbying for BAME counselling support services  
  • Joint work with leaders of equality, diversity and inclusion activity to highlight current support measures and activity taking place  
  • Continue to uplift the voices of those with lived experiences by sharing stories and information  

This week, Cindy Ikie has resigned from the position of Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer (19-20) to focus on her wellbeing and studies, you can read her full statement below.  

In response to this resignation, Jackie Yip Students’ Union President says: 

The fight against racism does not end with a statement, the Students’ Union Elected Officer team are continuing to address and tackle racism that exists on campus and in wider society.

“On behalf of Cardiff University Students’ Union, we would like to thank Cindy for her wonderful contribution as Black and Ethnic Minorities Students Officer. She had made a mammoth contribution during her time in office and we admire the honesty and passion she brought to the role.” 

The current Elected Officer terms end on the 30th June, with new Elected Officers taking on those roles to represent students in the following academic year. The position of Black and Ethnic Minority Officer 20-21 is currently vacant with a by-election due to take place in Autumn. 

Tomos Evans, Students’ Union President-elect will take on the responsibilities of the interim BEM position across the summer months, continuing the work of campaigns, working with societies and students with lived experiences to take a leading role in supporting the next steps of this movement.  

Tomos Evans says:  

“The Students’ Union stands and will always stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and we will continue to raise the voices of our black students at every level. Recent events have only further highlighted the injustices that are at play within Higher Education in the UK and we as your Students’ Union are committed to calling out institutional racism wherever we see it, whether that be within the curriculum or on a sports field or in Y Plas. I hope to keep having frank conversations with our black students as well as the wider University on how we can improve. And implement changes wherever possible.” 

Statement from Cindy Ikie: 

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” – Audre Lorde 

Black people have long endured adversity, long hours of work that is done at ten times the work rate and quality than that of their peers, and brutality in all its forms. Today, I hand in my resignation from my post as BEM Officer of Cardiff University Students’ Union, because Black students, of which I am one, can’t breathe.

In my time in office, I have held a number of events directly for Black students. I recognised the importance of serving the Black community with a particular focus. I tackled first the lack of welfare and nurturing towards Black students, with events such as ‘Black-Out the Stigma’ a workshop to temporarily ameliorate the lack of addressing Black specific mental health and wellbeing and ‘Viva Blackademia: Black and Brilliant’ in collaboration with the African Caribbean Society, to provide much needed Black academic role models. I have won thousands of pounds for ‘The Gethnic Project’ which is a project to amplify, support and celebrate Black students and Ethnic Minority students, this will now be waiting to empower the next BEM Officer. I spoke out tirelessly about systemic failures and I educated empathetically. I have given counsel, been a good friend and confidant. 

I do not resign with fear or regret of any kind. Rather, I resign as a conscious act of self-care against the continual cycle of distraction of racism from my desire to express my elaborate and delicately excellent intellect in the biological sciences. I stand tall as an African giant amongst the small-minded who seek to muffle the voices of proactive and vocal Black people. I stand strong against the ivory towers that have implanted themselves into the indoctrinated hearts and minds of those who can be equalled to ‘zombies’ as Fela Kuti would call them. I still, Black students, stand with you. 

There is a time and a season for everything. Now is the season that I spread my wings and take to my own personal dreams, in peace, because I helped to create a small corner of peace in which Black students might find the power of their voices and thrive. And build, and make yourselves visible, make people empathise with you, make people join in dialogue with you. Do so as a collective, there is true power in numbers. I have seen this come to fruition of late. I encourage you to feel free to express yourself and be confident that you are worth listening to. Your experience is like no other, it exists in a time that is tailored to keep you oppressed. Tell your stories.

I believe that I have encouraged the politically inactive, to wake up and speak up. I am proud to say that I am honoured by many and dishonoured by few. I wish you all the very best that life has to offer. I pray for better days to come. I am committed to living my life to the fullest, and announcing to all, that my battle is won.

Best wishes

Cindy

Ex-BEM Officer Cardiff University Students' Union 

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