Woman’s Hour with Lavinya Stennett, activist, writer and founder of The Black Curriculum

At DeMellier, we champion women and celebrate diversity by sharing stories of inspiring women. Today we meet Lavinya Stennett, writer, activist and founder of The Black Curriculum, to discuss the mission of her organization and how fashion can ripple out positive influence for social causes and education.

To support Lavinya’s cause, DeMellier and Natasha Ndlovu co-designed the limited edition LEARN tote as part of the 7 Women, 7 Causes initiative: 100% of the profits from the sale of the LEARN tote are donated to The Black Curriculum to address the lack of Black history in the UK Curriculum and equip young people with a sense of identity.
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About Lavinya

Lavinya is a writer, activist, and Founder and CEO of The Black Curriculum. She is currently writing her first book, ’Omitted’ due to be published in March 2023 by 4th Estate.

Lavinya was recently named as one of the Sunday Times 50 Women of the Year and was awarded Trailblazer of The Year by Hello Magazine, as well as featuring in Vogue, and GQ for her activism.

The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise founded in 2019, working to teach and support the teaching of Black history all year round, aiming to empower all students with a sense of identity and belonging.

The Black Curriculum’s goal is to empower all students with a greater sense of identity and belonging and to improve social cohesion. The LEARN tote initiative can help us increase awareness by reaching more people.

Hi Lavinya, tell us a little more about you and your background?

I am passionate about making education accessible and have previously campaigned for this cause especially through activism in university. Now the founder of
The Black Curriculum, I am campaigning for the mandatory embedding of Black history. I love writing and my first book, ’Omitted’ will be published in March 2023.

What was the pivotal moment that made you start The Black Curriculum?

Going to New Zealand and seeing how important the conversation and presence of Maori and Indigenous culture was inspired me to start The Black Curriculum.

Were there any obstacles along the way getting to where you are now?

Yes, the obstacles along the way have been many but not insurmountable! We have faced resistance from unexpected parties in getting into the educational establishment and it has taken us some time to find our feet, especially after the demand that came in post June 2020.

What are you the most proud of?

I am most proud of the fact we are trailblazers, and with that we have stayed focused. We aren’t letting up.

What key learnings would you like to pass on to the next generation?

Key learnings I would like to pass on to the next generation include collaboration and falling in love with risk taking. You have everything to gain from the unknown, and community entrepreneurialism is one of those areas that is rewarding on many levels.

It is our honour to be supporting The Black Curriculum and its mission with the LEARN tote we co-designed with Natasha Ndlovu. Why are partnerships like these important to you and to The Black Curriculum?

I agree, partnerships like ours are necessary and wonderful. Our society is made up of many people who share the history of the country. When we all champion and practically support movements that seek justice and education for all, what we are saying is that we won’t be divided, regardless of whether we are from different sections and that is a great value.

Our society is made up of many people who share the history of the country. When we all champion and support movements that seek justice and education for all, we are saying that we won’t be divided, regardless of whether we are from different sections and that is a great value.

100% of the profits from the sale of the LEARN tote will be donated to The Black Curriculum; how can this initiative further help The Black Curriculum achieve its goal and mission beyond the donation?

The Black Curriculum’s ultimate goal is to empower all students with a greater sense of identity and belonging and to improve social cohesion. The initiative can help us create increased awareness by reaching more young people.

Do you think the fashion industry should be more involved with social causes, and how?

Yes absolutely!! Fashion connects communities. I think fashion industries should consult and learn with those at the forefront of these movements to further the social causes.

Where is The Black Curriculum heading, any major plans for the future that you would like to share?

We are an organisation with global ambitions. Our current programmes include Springboard which teaches young people Black history through music in 5 different UK cities. We are also collaborating with partners in Wales and Scotland to create some exciting initiatives to meet our goal!

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