The Face of Grassroots Activism: Isis Amlak



Activist Isis Amlak



Last Friday after watching the Young Historian’s ‘We Our Are Own Liberators’ film, a woman asked me to take a picture of her, because as she needed one for her next Spoken Word performance in THE GAMBIA. I took one, she then told me how she used to WORK for ‘Grassroots’, the home of Black Liberation Front, and a major part of the UK’s Black Power movement. I was happy when she offered to tell some more, we exchanged emails. Here’s what she had to say.

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Black British History: Reflections from The Black Liberation Front

Memebers of the Young Historians Project, who brought History to life

On Friday I went to an exhibition and film primer, that was 2 years in the making, creatively crafted by the Young Historians Project, and listened to a panel consisting of some of the early pioneers of the Black Liberation Front, a British Black power organization created in 1971. It was fascinating hearing their experiences, and how they laid the foundations for Black Liberation in Britain. At the same time it was eerie listening to their past struggles as they sounded both strangely similar, but also alien to current black struggles in Britain and the diaspora.

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My First Four weeks at Four

Image result for 1990s office

Today marks exactly four weeks since starting my job at Four Communications, a Marketing and PR agency. It’s been an interesting four weeks, mainly because of how new everything is. I’ve never had an ‘office’ type job before, but I’ve heard a lot about the infamous culture of the office, so as an ‘outsider’ to this new world, I thought I’d make a few mental notes on what I was experiencing.

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The original Charlie was black…

Actor Freddie Highmore would have been 14 when filming started for the latest Roald Dahl remake

Yesterday, author Roald Dahl’s widow revealed that Charlie was black but Dahl was persuaded to make him white. I find it so interesting the concept of white washing can be found tucked away in a book that was written more than 54 years ago. I know some people will think Charlie’s skin colour is not that deep, but to me this revelation points to a valuable home truth people of colour need to learn.

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How A-level reforms have failed students – a student’s perspective.


Over the last two years, A-levels have been changing. The new A-level system sees some
subjects such as Biology, Chemistry and History using a new linear system of examination. Previously, A-levels were conducted on a modular basis, whereby students carried out AS examinations in their first year of sixth-form which equalled to 50% of their overall grade. In the second year, students took their A2 examinations which constitutes towards the final 50% of their A-level grade. Some subjects such as Maths and Politics followed the modular system this year but are currently being reformed. Under the new linear system, students take their final exams at the end of their two years at sixth form. Students fear that the new reforms are not accurately representing their efforts.

Sixth form student Kamsi claims that the new A-levels “[are not] a fair representation of a student’s academic commitment. Testing two years worth of content is unfair and it doesn’t give students the opportunity to showcase what they have actually learnt.”

The problem that many students have found is that under the new system they are in a
constant battle in the second year to remember the information that they learnt in the first. This often makes learning the second years’ content a lot harder as much of the information consumed is not properly digested as there is frankly too much content.
Under the old system, students were able to learn the first years’ content and take the
exams which counted towards their final grade. This meant that students did not have to
learn both years of content which made the volume of content much more manageable.
Fears have been cast over the effects that the reforms have on the mental health of

A-level student Ijaz Sultan explains “[a] trend among my peers in my college, in particular, was a growing doubt in [their] ability to do well.”

This belief has proven to be common among students undertaking the reformed A-levels. A larger volume of content to remember has seen exam pressure amongst students reach a new peak with many students finding it difficult to cope with the stress.
The A-level system and the UK’s education, in general, has often been criticised for not
teaching students to be creative or open minded but instead teaching students how to

A-level student Ivan, who has undertaken the new reforms, suggests “Linear A-levels just shows that the qualifications are designed to see how well you can remember lots of information [and] not actually educate you.”
Critics of the new system have highlighted the exam boards failures to sufficiently prepare students for the reformed examinations with claims that not enough specimen papers were produced to give students a chance to prepare for the new exams.

Later today, students across the country will be opening the envelopes containing the
grades that universities will be using to measure their abilities. Reports from various outlets have suggested that grade boundaries will be lowered to ensure that education standards do not fall and so that students’ efforts are fairly represented by the grades they receive.

This is bad news for the reforms which were implemented to improve standards nationally.


Hannah Bašić

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