Ex-PUSH Excel student says HBCU bus tour changed his life

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DOUGLAS THURMAN, 27, credits the PUSH Excel program for his success. Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. congratulates him. (Photo by Chinta Strausberg) 

By Chinta Strausberg

When he was 15, Douglas Thurman went on a PUSH Excel HBCU bus tour twice, and those experiences taught him not only to be proud of himself but also an “unapologetically” Black man.

Those HBCU bus tours, he said, helped to chart his life and kept him focused on his goals—dreams that ultimately became true, for the now 27-year-old is a news producer for Fox 31’s Morning Show in Denver, Colorado.

But the seed was planted in the mind of teenage Thurman thanks to his mother, a teacher who took him, along with her students, to the Saturday morning live Rainbow PUSH Coalition broadcast.

There, Thurman said, he learned not only about civil rights from the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and his guests, but that “it taught me about the importance of my blackness. I learned that it is OK to be unapologetically Black and smart as well. It taught me to be myself and to be more. In the past I always wanted to get by, but because of those times I saw students get accepted into school and get scholarships it let me know that I could be something more and that I could do more for myself and my future,” Thurman stated.

As a double enforcement of ethnic pride Thurman said his attendance to the PUSH Excel classes especially the HBCU bus tours cemented his confidence of being a young, gifted Black man with a purpose and a mission.

“Those bus tours changed my whole life,” said Thurman. “My entire plan was to be in Chicago, not live in four different cities across the country. I’ve never been without a job since I graduated from college.”

While Thurman didn’t come back from the HBCU bus tours with scholarship commitments as some students did, he said, “As a sophomore and junior, I came back with more knowledge about HBCUs. I knew I wanted to go to a HBCU because of those bus tours.”

Ultimately, the 6’4 Thurman enrolled in Grambling State University in 2014 where he majored in mass communications. Thurman said he has never been without a job since graduating from college.

Three years before joining the FOX 31 station, the Thurman worked in Las Vegas as a news producer at the CBS station producing the new newscast.

“My goal is to work in news and radio. I’ve been in news for five years now and want to get more experience while sharpening my skills,” he said.

Thurman credited his success to Michelle Chambers, education program coordinator for PUSH Excel. “We met on the bus tour, and she has taken me in. During my entire time at Grambling, I’ve always had a scholarship and she always passed that information to me.”

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