DMU students to lobby for change as they reflect on a thought-provoking trip to New York


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Students plan to lobby education leaders in England to teach more diverse history after being inspired by their trip to New York.

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DMU students in New York for the Freedom to Achieve #DMUglobal trip

Evan Duru, a Computer Science student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), is taking up the challenge for more active engagement with those in charge of education in the UK.

On his final day in the Big Apple, Evan said: “We need to access more of our black history even though we shouldn’t have to study the subject as a degree to find that information. All educational institutions should teach it without us pushing for it.

“But I’m going to do what I can to talk to those people in charge of education in England to incorporate a more diverse teaching of history so people can be more understanding of where minority peoples are coming from.

“It’s important that we are represented.”

Along with 43 other DMU students, Evan has been on a #DMUglobal trip to New York as part of the Freedom to Achieve project. This included a visit to the immigration museum on Ellis Island and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

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DMU students get to see a visual poem by novelist and activist Langston Hughes at the Schomburg Center

They also got to visit the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York and meet with students from the US to discuss whether they have had opportunities to learn about black history, identity and heritage.

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Freedom to Achieve project director, Kaushika Patel, who is also Interim Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, was very pleased with the way the trip has given the students new perspectives and insights about education and culture in the US and how it compares to the UK.

She said: “A key highlight for me was going to City College of New York and meeting with the equivalent of our undergraduate students and hearing about their educational experiences to see what the similarities were in terms of challenges to black and minority ethnic representation and what are the differences.

“We’ve asked students to think what they can go do differently and how they can influence the processes of education.”

Emmanuella Omolaiye, Law, Human Rights and Social Justice student at DMU has also loved her trip because she got to visit the world-famous Apollo Theater.

She said: “When I was younger I used to watch amateur night on TV so it was amazing and surreal to be there to see all of the great performers.”

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Emmanuella Omolaiye, Law, Human Rights and Social Justice student

Her stay in New York, and in particular Harlem, will leave a lasting impression because “it’s taught me to have more pride in my culture and more pride in just being a black person in the UK”.

Posted on Thursday 6th June 2019

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