July is Sickle Cell Awareness Month.
The different kinds of Sickle Cell Disorders and the different traits are found mainly in people whose families come from Africa, the Caribbean, the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia.* In Britain SCD is most common in people of African and Caribbean descent (at least 1 in 10-40 have sickle cell trait and 1 in 60-200 have SCD). It is estimated there are over 6,000 adults and children with SCD in Britain at present. There are other inherited conditions that mainly affect other groups, e.g. Cystic Fibrosis in Europeans, and Tay-Sachs disease in Jewish people.
If you would like to find out more about Sickle Cell Awareness Month go to the Sickle Cell Society website at http://www.sicklecellsociety.org/
HEFCE’s recent report Higher education and beyond: outcomes from full-time first degree study highlights that students experience and benefit from higher education differently depending on their background. The report looks at degree attainment and subsequent employment of students from the 2006/07 cohort.
The report highlights that disabled students receiving Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) are more likely to achieve a 1st or 2:1 degree than disabled students who don’t receive DSA. On completion of their first degree, they are also more likely to be in employment or further study, and more likely to be in a graduate job.
The report also adds to the growing body of evidence that students from minority ethnic backgrounds have a different experience of HE from their white peers. This points to the need for more inclusive curriculum design, assessments and culture.
Equality Challenge Unit have produced guidance in response to the report, found at: http://www.ecu.ac.uk/news/different-backgrounds-lead-to-different-student-experiences-of-he
This month is Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. With this in mind we have chosen Ian Hancock as our Inspirational Diversity Champion for June.
Hancock was born in Britain of both British and Hungarian Romani descent and was raised according to Romani traditions. He experienced firsthand the prejudice, discrimination and alienation that so many centuries of Romanies before him had endured.
Although he dropped out of school to go to work, which was very common for Romani people, Ian went onto study at London University and became the first Romani in Britain to receive a Ph.D. He has since devoted most of his adult life to dispelling ignorance about his ethnic origins.
Since his London University days, Hancock has used his somewhat unique position as a Romani-born, university-educated scholar to speak for an oppressed population that has traditionally had no voice or representation, to preserve information about Romani customs and history and to fight for Romani political and civil rights.
He is the Chairman of the United Romani Educational Foundation Inc., the official ambassador to the United Nations and UNICEF for the world’s 15 million Romanies and the only Romani to have been appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.
Educating the public about Romani history and culture has been a colossal task for Hancock because most individuals do, unfortunately, have a graphic mental image of the “typical gypsy,” but they have formed their ideas from all the wrong information.
“They do not know that seventy percent of the Romani population of Nazi-occupied Europe were murdered during the Holocaust.”
“This ridiculous fictional image has taken on a life of its own,” says Hancock. “The cliché description of Romanies is so deeply rooted that it may never totally be eradicated. There are countless representations in films and books of Italians as Mafia members, but no one actually believes that all Italians are Mafia members. That is not true for my people”.
The government has announced that caste discrimination will now be included as an aspect of race discrimination.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said caste would in future be treated as “an aspect of race”.
Read more about this story on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22267147