South Auckland students build a passion for civil rights movement

Kobe Naden wants to understand the civil rights movement and then use his knowledge to empower Maori.
KYMBERLEE FERNANDES/STUFF

Kobe Naden wants to understand the civil rights movement and then use his knowledge to empower Maori.

Students from Alfriston College will have the chance to witness first-hand the sites where the civil rights movement occurred.

They will visit the United States of America on a three-week trip to understand how demonstrations in the 1950s and 60s forever changed the dynamics of racial discrimination.

Kobe Naden says he sees many similarities in the problems faced by African Americans and Maori.

Hannah Ikiua, Amandeep Shakhan and Ayansha Goundar will have the chance to witness first-hand the sites where African ...
KYMBERLEE FERNANDES/STUFF

Hannah Ikiua, Amandeep Shakhan and Ayansha Goundar will have the chance to witness first-hand the sites where African American fought for their civil rights in the United States.

"We are no strangers to oppression. We have suffered oppression since the British came."

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He hopes to understand what sparked the civil rights movement and then use his knowledge to empower Maori.

The students are currently learning US history through an African American lens.
KYMBERLEE FERNANDES/STUFF

The students are currently learning US history through an African American lens.

"In New Zealand, I would start with taking Maori people out of poverty," he says,

"Society has shaped our opinions of ourselves. So people in lower economic areas believe that drug dealing and violence is normal.

"Because you see people on TV, and they look just like me, is that all I'm going to amount to?"

Martin Luther King waves to the crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, where he delivered his iconic 'I ...
File photo

Martin Luther King waves to the crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, where he delivered his iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech.

He plans to become a lawyer like his dad and he wants to learn more about the Maori Land Court.

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Amandeep Shakhan says the trip will be a "life-changing because I can develop a better understanding of race situations".

"This topic gives me an insight into why the world is shaped they way it is. I'm Indian and my ancestors have experienced the same segregation and discrimination like African Americans have, just because of the way they look."

Sometimes she gets racially profiled, she says and through this trip she is hoping to understand "why white people thought it was okay to treat African Americans like this".

Their history teacher Roydon Agent has put together this trip.

"Race is not just a white on black problem. I've taught Maori students that they are racist against Asians. There are different shades and nuances to this issue," he says.

On their educational history tour, they will visit Washington DC, the Holocaust museum, the Lincoln Memorial, an underground slave museum, the site in Memphis where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated among other places.

The trip costs about $7000 and the students have to rock up the money themselves. They have been fundraising and some even work part-time.

 - Stuff

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