Alumnus Leon Ellis (LGS 2022) was Head Boy and has gone on to study Law at university. He reflects on what Black History Month means to him, and how he can use his influence as a member of the alumni community to help support the School’s ongoing race equality work.
"As a black man of Jamaican heritage, I appreciate the conversation started during black history month, and progression of perspectives on race relations during this time. For me, it is less about the entity of black history month and more about the increased willingness of people to start the conversation."
Can you tell us about your roles and any other interests you have outside of study?
I am currently a law student at Lancaster University, with aspirations of becoming either a solicitor or barrister. My interests generally revolve around debating and public speaking.
What is the importance of Black History Month to you?
As a black man of Jamaican heritage, I appreciate the conversation started during black history month, and progression of perspectives on race relations during this time. For me, it is less about the entity of black history month and more about the increased willingness of people to start the conversation.
What is something you would like people to reflect on, or take action on, during Black History Month?
Attitudes regarding stereotypes.
As Head Boy, how did you use your influence to help support the School’s ongoing work with the Race Equality agenda?
Being a Head Boy provides the stage to convey a message to the entire school. My own black history month assembly attempted to bring an alternative perspective, providing boys with more to think upon, and challenged their preconceived notions of what black history month aims to achieve. I was also able to speak with more senior people, such as our first black governor. Hearing his opinions, and giving my own, allowed me to better create a bridge between the boys and those that run the School.
Did you have a role model or someone you looked up to while you were growing up?
My parents are obvious choices, alongside the likes of Obama as the first black US President and Nelson Mandela for his commitment to racial liberation.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self a piece of advice, what would you say?
Take the risk, and don’t hesitate or sanitise your words out of fear of pupil opinion. Embrace the moment to it’s fullest, for as soon as it comes it is gone.
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