A Discussion between Black Brown Berlin and Berlin International School

This event held on 10th June 2021 was originally a CAS project idea that came about in the beginning of DP1: a panel discussion centred around the Black Lives Matter movement which became so apparent in Spring-Summer 2020.

Here are a few words from the students involved:

“The discussion took many, many months to organise because of how sensitive and important it was. We wanted to make sure we got it right. Our ultimate aim was to give members of the BIS community a platform to share their experiences, because talking about it seemed like the one thing we could do, as students. It was ultimately a highly rewarding and fulfilling experience, and we hope that we accomplished our aim of sparking conversations about these important issues. We feel that discussion is the first step in bringing about action.”

“The panel discussion was a good start, but we know there are still many things that need to be done. There are many ways to inspire action, perhaps telling the story and sharing it on our website is one of them.”

“When we carried out a survey within our community asking about experiences with racism, discrimination or marginilisation of any kind, we were shocked to discover the sheer extent of the problem, receiving dozens of replies from both students and teachers alike. We realised then, that this event has to be more than a one-time thing, and so we hope to continue on the project in some form, maybe even through a new group of students.”

“Working in the shadow of the pandemic was not easy, but it was fantastic that we were eventually able to host a live event with panelists from our own community, as well as special guests from a local organisation we reached out to, Black Brown Berlin (https://www.blackbrownberlin.com). Established in 2018, their aim is to ‘amplify, celebrate and strengthen the ties between their community, [with] collective aims to end the misconceived synonymy between Europe and whiteness, and combat the erasure of Black and Brown identity.’ Thus we felt that they would lend an invaluable perspective in the discussion. We learned so much from them in the course of the event, and are immensely grateful for their contribution.

“We had many meetings with our larger team; in small groups; with our supervisor Mr Eaton, and with our school’s event manager Mr Stüven, who were paramount to the organisational success in holding this panel. Countless hours were spent working on a project that we all truly believed in. Even though we mostly saw each other through Google Meets, we were able to grow together as a team.”

“After a short while, this project stopped being just a project for us. We became wholly and utterly invested, because it concerned our friends, our teachers, people we knew; experiencing things nobody should ever be experiencing.”

“If we can start in any way to battle racism and discrimination, it is by looking around, trying to educate ourselves, speaking up, and most importantly: listening.”

Although we were able to hold the event in-person in the Kant Hall, the size of the live audience had to be limited and thus we chose to film the entire event.