Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. - James Baldwin
As October marks Black History Month in the UK, conversations around addressing racial oppression, violence, and discrimination have been heightened by current unrest occurring worldwide. This is collapsed with conversations surrounding the need for increased representation and recognition on the policy level as well as within the changing cultures around the world. However, the focus of this conversation is expanded with the realities faced by individuals with intersectional identities of Black & Queer. With the epidemic of violence occurring within the Black Trans community, the increased criminalisation of LGBTQ+ people in various countries where Black people reside, and the continued misrepresentation in society and pop culture, navigating Black & Queer identities becomes challenging.
As we move toward National Coming Out Day in the UK on the 11th of October, we engage with personal stories about navigating these identities in the context of LSE and beyond. We will discuss the overall process of identity formation; the ways in which our personal narratives and environment shape our understanding of race, gender, and sexuality; how the personal is merged with the political as a Black & Queer person; and what role we should play in changing things for the better in our own lives and the lives of others.
This event is co-hosted by LSE Spectrum (LSE’s LGBTQ+ staff network) and LSE EmbRace (LSE’s BAME staff network) and will gather together Black & Queer members of the LSE community to have a frank conversation around the realities of navigating these identities and how to move forward as a community in a way that empowers Black & Queer people.
Although this event speaks to the experience of Black & Queer people, it is open to all. We acknowledge the importance of supporting allyship in our communities in order to work towards change as a collective. Please feel free to attend, whatevever your identity may be, and feel comfortable asking questions of the panelists connected to the topic.
Rishi Madlani is the Chair of this event. He is a former LSE Governor and has worked for NatWest Group for over 15 years across the London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt offices. Rishi is Head of Sustainable Finance and Just Transition for the Group which encompasses the bank’s activities supporting the transition to a lower carbon economy and increasing funding to areas with a wider social purpose. Over the last 2 years the bank provided £9.9bn of funding to support activity in the climate sector and the bank has now set a £20bn funding and financing target to support climate and sustainable finance. Rishi is the Global Co-Chair of the NatWest Group Rainbow Network, the staff network for LGBT staff and allies. Established over 14 years ago it now has c. 1,600 members globally. Recent highlights include championing same-sex couple medical benefits in India and supporting LGBT communities globally through prides all over the UK and in Warsaw, Mumbai and Dublin.
Outside the office, Rishi helped establish Foxes Pride, the LGBT supporters association for Leicester City Football Club and is the Campaigns Officer for Pride in Football the umbrella group of LGBT+ fan groups which seeks to improve LGBT experiences around football. He is also a trustee of Opening Doors London, the older people's LGBT charity. Additionally, Rishi serves as an elected Councillor in Camden, representing Bloomsbury ward, and has been appointed the Borough LGBT+ Champion. Rishi is an LSE alumnus, former General Secretary of the LSE Students’ Union and recently retired from the LSE Court of Governors.
Jude Chisom Erondu
Jude Chisom Erondu works as an Associate (ESG and Impact) with a wealth management firm in Boston, Massachuttes. He is an Executive Education Program (LEAD) Candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He holds an Executive Education Program Certificate in Business Analytics: Decision-Making Using Data from the Cambridge Judge Business School. In 2016, he was awarded the prestigious LSE Masters Award (Full Scholarship) to study Development Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
At the LSE, he got elected as a Member of the LSE Student Union Court of Governors, where he worked with students and leadership of LSE to strengthen the institution's strategic plan as a leading social science university in the world. Outside of LSE, Erondu is serving the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth (SDSN-Youth) as Senior Advisor ( Art Twenty Thirty and Operations) reporting directly to the Global Coordinator of SDSN-Youth. He served as Policy and Advocacy Committee Member for the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network.
Christina is a Jamaican LSE graduate with a BSc in Politics and International Relations. She has worked with the LSE US Centre as an undergraduate Research Assistant, in addition to having served as Community and Welfare Officer for LSESU Pride Alliance and editor of Flipside, the magazine companion to LSE's student newspaper, The Beaver. She now works as a Research Assistant at the Caribbean Policy Research Institute and writes articles on mental health, politics and climate change in her free time.
Fumani is a singer-songwriter, and aspiring music producer, who recently completed the first phase of his MSc in Global Media and Communications at the LSE. He is passionate about growing the arts and entertainment sector in the African continent by bringing together a mix of talent that is able to show off the creative uniqueness of each country on the continent and to strengthen the laws and legislation that should aid the growth of the continent’s creative sector. He is also a believer that through the arts, there will be increased advocacy on issues of social justice and that the arts will be fundamental in achieving a society that is fair, just and equal for all, especially for marginalised.
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