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Diversity and Representation Matters

Diversity and Representation Matters


Stephanie Knowles
Stephanie Knowles
Diversity and Representation Matters

This week marked the beginning of Black History Month. As part of the tutor activity, students were set a challenge to Find out about a role model from the black community (past or present) whom you don’t know much about. How can they be seen a role model to others?

Within days, I received my first project from a student in 8Elm – Rachel who had researched the American actress and singer, Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman. Zendaya has starred in many films including ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ and one of my own favourites, ‘The Greatest Showman’. Through Rachel’s project, I learned loads about this 26 year old inspirational woman who was the first black woman to win an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Lead Actress category twice.

Rachel told me that her name, Zendaya is Zimbabwean and means ‘to give thanks’. One thing that interested me in particular was Rachel’s description of how Zendaya dealt with a situation of racism when she was aged just 19. A journalist covering The Academy Awards in 2015 made a racist comment about Zendaya’s appearance but the way Zendaya dealt with the racism, makes her a role model. She said that, “There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful”. She said,“That’s how change happens”, referring to the debate that followed the comment. She has since spoken about how the event made her realise the impact that she could have on how the public views people of colour and how she could promote real cultural change.

Rachel not only received reward points in recognition of her hard work. She has gone the extra mile to progress her own learning and therefore demonstrating ‘Flair’.

I look forward to receiving more projects throughout the month of October, Black History Month.

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