Kailan Hanson, JCR Black & Ethnic Minorities Officer 2020-21
How are you finding Michaelmas term 2021 at Trinity Hall?
My first term this year has been great! It’s been lovely experiencing all the parts of Cambridge we missed out on last year. I feel like I’ve been reminded of why I applied here.
Why did you choose to study History?
I chose to study History because I’ve always wanted to understand how the world we live in came to be, and the ways in which societies and their cultures change.
Which aspects of Black & Ethnic Minorities history interest you at the moment?
This term I’ve been studying early North American history, ca. 1500 to 1789. Having never studied the history of indigenous Americans, I’ve particularly enjoyed learning about how these native nations assigned equal value to the sexes in their division of labour, prior to European colonisation. Though I do wish more of the paper covered the history of natives in their own right, rather than through their interactions with Europeans.
What drew you to your role as Black & Ethnic Minorities Officer for the JCR?
My Caribbean identity is incredibly important to me. I applied to Cambridge apprehensively, with the thought that I would spend my time here disadvantaged by my background. I was drawn to the role of JCR BME Officer because I didn’t want any students at Trinity Hall to feel as though Cambridge was not a place for them, or that being here meant they had to compromise any part of who they are. Also, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements, I wanted to make sure Trinity Hall is a space for open, inclusive and non-judgemental conversations about BME experiences.
Who are your role models and why?
Dawn Butler MP is someone who, like myself, comes from a working-class, Jamaican immigrant background. She attended the same school as my Dad and siblings, and her family owns a much loved local bakery. Seeing Dawn, as someone I so strongly see myself and my family in, serving her community within Parliament, is truly awe-inspiring.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If you don’t ask the answer is always ‘no’.