St Andrews student gets over 43,000 to back school curriculum change

Taiyba Ali is successfully informing millions

activism racism st Andrews university

Many students across the UK are now thinking of innovative ways in which they can inform people – second year St Andrews student, Taiyba Ali, has started a petition that has been signed by over 43,400 people. The petition aims to “amend the British school curriculum to teach about racism and British history”.

Taiyba is also using her 3,000-strong social media following to share infographics that convey the extent of racial issues and how ingrained the problem is within society.

“I found that even though schools taught us racism was wrong, they didn’t teach us why”, Taiyba told the St Andrews Tab.

Taiyba shared her motives behind creating the petition, her passion for using education to enlighten people, and her excitement at how popular her Instagram infographics have been.

What pushed you to start the petition?

“In wake of the black lives matter movement, it became apparent that many people were uninformed about racism in the UK. As a person of colour, I was shocked as this is my reality. I understood this lack of knowledge was no fault of their own, if one hasn’t experienced racism and systematic oppression, the only way they could learn from it is through education. Education which British schools lack.”

Taiyba has long been aware of the need for the curriculum to be reformed, saying “growing up in Britain, I quickly realised the school curriculum was carefully curated. It omitted so many important events of British history.

“Racism in the UK often stems from the media’s anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric. I knew if people understood Britain’s history and colonialism (good and bad) they’d be more empathetic and understanding towards people of colour. They’d appreciate our culture more, many people of colour just want to integrate into society but feel they can’t, due to systemic and individualised racism.

“I found that even though schools taught us racism was wrong, they didn’t teach us why. Therefore, teaching children about British history and the etymology of racism would go a long way in creating a more tolerable environment for people from all walks of life.”

Did you think the petition would attract so many people?

“I was confident that the petition would do well, simply because I know it’s such an important cause that many people have now recognised. They have recognised the lack of education about colonialism and racism in schools.

“I didn’t expect my petition to grow as fast as it did, I think so many people really resonated with the cause and that’s why the signatures increased at the rate they did. We are now nearly at 40K signatures which is amazing.”

What are you specifically hoping that the petition will achieve?

“I am hoping we can reform the education system so that future generations are well equipped to fight racism and so that our society can progress and becoming more accepting of different cultures and races.”

Taiyba has also been using her Instagram and Twitter to share infographics she created. They cover a range of issues and contain key information to help people educate themselves.

Taibya was excited to tell The Tab that she has been sharing these and said they had “gained the attention of model Halima Aden and Huda Beauty!” She also said, “Elsa Hosk and Michael B Jordan” are among those who have “have interacted with them”.

View this post on Instagram

Woke up to this horrible news 😭😭#justiceforshukriabdi repost @halima My heart is so heavy right now.. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain her family is experiencing. If it was a young white girl that was murdered by 4 black hijabis the world would be going crazy right now.. but because the victim was a young Somali refugee her case was closed as quickly as it opened. Please sign the petitions to have her case reopened (link in my bio) on @halima We need a thorough investigation. We also need to do more within our school systems. The fact that her mother reported the bullying and nothing was done is beyond me. Let’s hold her bullies and the SCHOOL accountable. How did you manage to change your uniforms and rename your school shortly after her death but not protect an innocent child? Shame on you! #justiceforshukriabdi #sayhername #justiceforshukriabdi

A post shared by HUDA KATTAN (@hudabeauty) on

Taiyba has used her intelligence, initiative, and creativity, alongside her social media platforms to engage an audience of thousands. Thanks to her work, her followers are better informed on the issue of racism in the UK and the ways in which they can support people of colour.

If you have not already, make sure to sign the petition and get it to its goal of 50,000 signatures. Let’s reform the education system!

Also, be sure to check out Taiyba’s Instagram – her handle is @taiiybaali. Here you can find a variety of different posts to educate yourself and share with your followers.

Let the activism of Taiyba Ali inspire you.

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