On 26th April, three members of staff from CEL Solicitors attended the first Liverpool Against Racism conference. The event was in collaboration with Liverpool City Council and championed by Liverpool’s Mayor, Joanne Anderson. It was the first event of its kind and intended to join people from across the county to take a stand against racism.
Liverpool Against Racism conference featured keynote discussions from notable figures such as David Olusoga OBE and seminars on various subjects, all aimed at tackling racism. The event was focused on stimulating a conversation about racism in our city and possible action we can take against it. With a focus on community cohesion, it served as a platform for people and organisations to creatively respond to hate crime.
The choice of sessions was vast, making it very difficult to choose which ones to go to. I chose to attend a panel on ‘New Approaches in Education’, which hosted notable figures from across the higher education sector, including Lavinya Stennett, founder of The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise which aims at addressing Black British history in the UK curriculum. It was a very thought-provoking discussion from panel members about the ways that universities and educators can tackle racism and have a more diverse curriculum.
Liverpool-based historian and TV presenter, Laurence Westgaph gave an eye-opening presentation about ‘Liverpool: Before and Beyond Slavery’. It was a deep dive into our city’s history, showing listeners how Liverpool developed from slavery, and that contrary to popular belief, there was a black presence in our city prior to the height of the slave trade. Laurence also showed us various locations within Liverpool that have unseen ties with the slave trade, such as buildings on Fenwick Street.
One of the most eye-opening discussions was entitled ‘Racism and Ending Health Inequities’. This presentation focused on the disparity in healthcare given to white and non-white people. It was a hard-hitting discussion about racial inequalities within the NHS and particularly black patients’ experiences. Many people are aware of the shocking statistic that black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, however, other staggering inequalities were also raised, such as waiting lists for sickle cell sufferers and more. Members of the talk shared their own experiences of waiting lists and experiences in maternity wards.
The conference as a whole was extremely informative and sparked many conversations between attendees. Many take-home points were present in each discussion and it was an insightful, eye-opening event. We look forward to attending the next Liverpool Against Racism conference in 2023.