Bournemouth University, in collaboration with a number of organisations, recently hosted an event with Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE to mark Black History Month.
Baroness Lawrence spoke on the race relations act, the history of race relations in the UK and the current climate of race relations within UK politics and the country in general. There was then time for questions from an audience of almost 300 people from the University and the local community.
Baroness Lawrence is an anti-racism campaigner and was elevated to the House of Lords in September 2013. Last year she was named the most powerful woman in the country in a list drawn up for BBC Woman's Hour.
An advocate for justice, Baroness Lawrence has been effective in the change of laws in the UK. During her talk, she provided a personal perspective on her experiences, whilst reflecting on changes to UK Relations legislation over the last 50 years, focusing on the history of race relations from the arrival of the Windrush [a ship that carried migrants to the UK from the Caribbean in 1948] and changes to several Race Relations Acts throughout the years to date.
Speaking after the event, Baroness Lawrence said, “I think it is very important [for universities to put on events like this]. If you look at the make-up of universities, they have a diverse community and they need to put on events like this to demonstrate to their students that they are serious about integration and diversity, it is very important that they do that, and to bring in members of the public also”
After the talk Multimedia Journalism student Ben Allen interviewed Baroness Lawrence and said: "Having the opportunity to interview Baroness Lawrence was something I truly relished and would like to thank BU for arranging. Talks like the one she gave on race relations serve an important purpose in encouraging diversity and equality in order to promote a fairer society."
The talk was held as part of a wider programme of events highlight Black History Month, which recognises the contribution black people have made to society.
The events were organised in collaboration with several local organisations, including Bournemouth Borough Council, the Borough of Poole and Dorset Police.