20 Apr Lumity and Racial Equity
A conversation with Daunte Henderson, Program Facilitator, on Lumity and Racial Equity
Daunte Henderson is a Lumity program facilitator, a graduate student in social work at the University of Chicago, and a writer. He started working with children and young people since he was a summer program teaching assistant—at the age of 14 himself! We wanted to share Daunte’s thoughts on equity, STEM, and working with Lumity youth.
Lumity: We are so thrilled that you joined us this year to work with Chicagoland high school students in our STEM Career Prep program. You have expressed in conversations with us, and in your own writing, your deep commitment to equity. What does “equity” mean to you?
Daunte: Equity is about everyone having a shot at getting a piece of the pie. Are all voices being heard? Are the talents and efforts from various people represented–and are they validated? Equity doesn’t only mean giving people jobs, but also opportunities to be leaders and decision-makers within these STEM organizations.
Lumity: How does your commitment to equity play out in your work with Lumity?
Daunte: Lumity’s STEM Career Prep program is designed to introduce STEM concepts and careers to teens and young adults from the populations of people overlooked in the STEM space, particularly Black youth. We are trying to give students the tools and backgrounds to interest them in STEM and help them decide which path is best for them. Our programs are the building blocks to inspire students, especially when they meet and work with STEM professionals who look like them or who share their backgrounds. When you see yourself in someone, you can see yourself doing the work they do. We are trying to help students see the career options that they don’t think are possible and open up those doors for them.
Lumity: This past year certainly has exposed many inequities in education. What should Lumity keep doing or be doing to continue to promote equity?
Daunte: It’s really an atypical situation since all classes are virtual, but, when we can, I think we need to continue to grow our approach to connecting students with more Chicago professionals in the different STEM spaces, particularly STEM professionals who look like them. There are so many cool jobs out there that are exciting to the students. When we can, I would love to see more on-site Career Visits, as well as one-on-one mentorships with area professionals.
Interested in inspiring Chicago’s next-gen STEM professionals? Find out how you or your company can work with Lumity students: Contact Querube Della Cella at email@example.com.