At Worth we were delighted to mark the end of Black History Month with a powerful speech to the school community by Alexander McLean.
Mr McLean is the founder and CEO of Justice Defenders, a charity that provides legal advice, training, and education to those living and working in prisons in Kenya, Uganda and The Gambia, empowering those most in need of justice to access it for themselves.
Alexander was a magistrate for 15 years and is now a pupil barrister. He has appeared in TIME’s ‘30 Under 30 Changing the World’ and ‘The Power List’, featuring Britain's most influential people of African and African-Caribbean heritage, and is also social entrepreneur in residence at Worth.
His speech in assembly on Monday ended a series of events at Worth to mark Black History Month, including other assemblies, film nights, lessons and themed meals.
As well as speaking generally about Black History Month, its importance and what it means, he also shared his own experiences as someone of Jamaican heritage, who grew up and was schooled in London.
He told assembled pupils: “Whether we consider ourselves to belong to an ethnic minority, the global majority, to be indigenous, settlers or anything else, we have our humanity in common. We all want to be seen, known, loved and to live with purpose. If each of us can bring our full selves to this community, offer our gifts and talents in the knowledge we are fully accepted, each member of the community benefits.”
He went on to add: “My encouragement to each of you, regardless of your colour, is not to hide your light under a bushel. Sometimes we see a glimpse of the talent, gifts or potential that we have and are scared by what we might achieve. If I could speak to my teenage self, and instead, I speak to you, my encouragement would be: believe in yourself, even if others don’t.”