PUBLIC STATEMENT OUR STORIES UNSENCORED, BLACK HISTORY MONTH BELGIUM & KROESHAAR FESTIVAL
Written by: BHMB
August 17, 2022
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING THE PRESENT & FUTURE OF BHMB
Subject: sexual misconduct
One of the most important tenants of Black History Month Belgium is to create and hold space for Black people in Belgium. Celebrating the resilience of Black communities and building upon existing networks in order to fortify said communities. Through the dedication and hard work of our volunteers we have been able to reach many of you across various cities. So much so, that you have trusted us with your experiences, came to our events, shared yourselves with us and each other, supported the work we do in infinite ways, and dreamt out loud with us on future editions. You created community with us, made the theoretical practical and taught us so much in the process. A blessing for which we are infinitely grateful. It is for this reason that we would like to share an important message.
After 2022’s Black History Month Belgium edition, we received word that there had been instances of sexual misconduct. These instances include: sending unsolicited direct messages and pictures of a sexual nature across social media platforms.
From further testimony, it was revealed to us that this behaviour was exhibited by one of our admins. In light of this, the person stepped down from any and all functions within OSU, Black History Month Belgium, and Kroeshaar Festival. We are deeply sorry that these instances occurred and express our deep sympathy for the victims as well as everyone involved.
As an organisation, we would like to make our stance clear: we do not and will not tolerate this and any other kinds of abuse and discrimination. We are currently restructuring the organisation and implementing mechanisms that enforce better checks and balances. If you have been subjected to any form of harm, abuse, and or discrimination you want to share with us, please do. We would like to engage in open and honest dialogue with everyone affected by this so we can re-build trust in the spaces we co-created. We will do our very best to facilitate the right environment for you to express anything that has been on your mind and will take the necessary steps to alleviate your suffering.
We will stand with and alongside you.
All testimonies can be sent to the following email address: email@example.com. Everything you share with us will be treated with the utmost respect and will remain confidential. A trained counselor will contact you once we receive your email. In addition to that, we will provide mental health support via clinical psychologist Dr Ama Kissi for all victims.
You have our unwavering support. You have and will always matter to us.
For BHM Belgium – Brussels, Leuven, Bruges, and Wallonia
Eric Cyuzuzo, Amina Adebisi Odofin, Olga Briard, Laura Ganza, Bettina Guigui, Bitshilualua Kabeya and Sonia Mutaganzwa
For BHM Belgium – Antwerp
Audrey Ikirezi, Merryl Njimegni, Cheikh Niang, Nico Hillé, Sophie Gallant, Jason-Louise Graham, Uwera Franckaerts, Olivia Jadesola Foresythe, Daisy and Eyram Amavi
For BHM Belgium – Gent
Philsan Osman and Faiza Osman
For BHM Belgium – communications and graphic design (all cities)
Ange-Vanessa Nsanzineza, Jelaime Dino Mayamba, Rhoda Yeboah, and Rachel Hansoul
Shari Aku Legbedje and Jessica Kipoy Lungama
Kroeshaar Festival team