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UEA student to speak in parliament about life-long experiences of racism

PUBLISHED: 09:01 06 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:05 06 November 2020

UEA student Cynthia Ashlyne Muthoni, 22, will speak in House of Commons about diversity in the curriculum. Picture: UEA

UEA student Cynthia Ashlyne Muthoni, 22, will speak in House of Commons about diversity in the curriculum. Picture: UEA

Archant

A University of East Anglia (UEA) student who says she has experienced racism her whole life has spoken to parliament about diversity after reaching 88,000 signatures on a petition.

Cynthia Ashlyne Muthoni, 22, addressed politicians in the House of Commons via a video link on Thursday (November 5).

It comes after the climate change and international development student set up a petition to integrate diversity into the school curriculum.

Within 48 hours the petition reached 10,000 signatures, the necessary amount needed for the government to respond, and it now has more than 88,000 signatures.

Ms Muthoni, who is from Oxford but lives in Norwich, said she has experienced and witnessed racism throughout her life and believes that the key to preventing it is teach anti-racism in schools.

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She said: “I remember being in school and always being called by the name of another black pupil despite us looking completely different. Teachers were angry to the point they would begin yelling at me for not responding and were later embarrassed by their actions. This sadly this isn’t the only time I have been subject to racism.

“I would like teachers to be given appropriate anti-racism training, so they feel knowledgeable, confident, and empowered teaching such topics as well as when providing advice and assistance with any incidents of racism.

“Seeing the response to the petition is heart-warming, knowing so many people are co-signing and advocating for your idea because they recognise its importance. It gives you more confidence in your beliefs, it encourages you, and your determination becomes unwavering.”

Ms Muthoni said the aim was make diversity in the curriculum into legislation.

She added: “My aim is to have this idea transformed into legislation so that a significant portion of the curriculum is dedicated to deconstructing ideas of racism, providing children with tools necessary to combat racism, to become anti-racist and an ally.

“Instead of diversity (racially, ethnically, and culturally) being something children are told to tolerate, it should be something they are taught to celebrate. Diversity isn’t just acknowledgement of differences it’s the empowerment of the elements that make us different.”

To view the petition, visit: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323808


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