Hi, my name is Anika and I’m a first year law student. I’m running for People of Colour Officer in the Student Union as I’d like to incorporate the experiences of myself and the student population here at SOAS to develop and improve the experiences and opportunities available to POC students, as well as acknowledging the postcolonial context in which the University operates and how it affects students. I also aim to amplify POC voices, and support students in any way possible, especially due to the erasure and silencing of our voices both within and beyond the University. I’m also on the TFL Youth Panel, where I assist the Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly in making decisions surrounding young people’s transport, and within this role I always make sure to acknowledge and highlight issues faced by POC and other minority groups, especially surrounding plans to introduce electric scooters, remove cash from transport systems altogether and further accessibility issues that many ethnic minority communities rely on. Additionally, as a law student, I have noticed POC are severely underrepresented within the judiciary, and it would be an honour to encourage others to play a role within citizens’ justice. Furthermore, through my career as a climate activist, my feeling of being the “other” within primarily white, middle-class spaces has driven me to apply for this position, as I care deeply about the climate and want to encourage other students of colour to feel comfortable about entering and owning these spaces, rather than feeling othered.
My maternal grandparents inspired me to run for this role. As immigrants from India who came to the UK in the 1950s, with limited resources and language barriers, they relied on their local communities, night classes and trade unions to build a presence in society, as well as cultivating successful careers building a successful business and in the retail industry. The stories of my grandparents further invigorate my aim as People of Colour Officer; to cultivate this sort of community for POC, where they feel they are heard, supported, loved and cared about. Where their intergenerational trauma is acknowledged and their achievements are praised. I want to provide a space where POC students are able to approach me about anything, and in turn I am able to offer advice, support and encouragement. I also would like to provide a space where POC are able to seek resources to both showcase and reclaim their cultures, as in my own experience bullying within a school setting caused me to shun my own cultures and see them as embarrassing, and it is this constant othering of POC within our society that I want to tackle and motivate other students to celebrate who they are.
It would be an honour to represent POC within this position.