Action on Racism : Meeting responsibilities : Defending rights
A conference for social change marking the 5th Anniversary of the publication of The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report and launch of TMG Rural Racism Project
Lord Herman Ousley
Ex-Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)
Author: "Community pride not prejudice" (Bradford Race Review Report)
Solicitor for the Lawrence Family
Glyn Ford MEP (TBC)
Secretary of the European Parliament's Anti-Racism Intergroup
Rohan Collier (TBC)
Consultant: "Race is Relevant - Implementing Race Equality Schemes
in a rural/semi-rural context"
Director - The Monitoring Group
Wednesday 11th February 2004
Plymouth Guildhall, Armada Way
Plymouth City Centre
9.00am to 5.00pm
Analysis and commentary on the conference framework:
At the launch of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report five years ago, Jack Straw, the then Home Secretary, promised,
"We have to make racial equality a reality. The vision is clear, to create a society where every individual regardless of colour; of creed, or race, has the same opportunities and respect as his or her neighbour."
Jack Straw, House of Commons - 24th February 1999
Five years after the publication of the Report for many in the South West today, experiences of racism are a daily reality. As the asylum issue predominates political discourse and government foreign policy is framed as 'the war against terror', the victims of the fallout are the region's minority communities. They have not only seen increases in race and religious attacks but have also witnessed an alarming rise in the activities of right-wing extremists intent on turning the South West into Britain's first 'multicultural free zone'. Hostility towards asylum seekers, refugees, Gypsies and travellers is on the increase, along with Islamophobia and attacks on foreign students.
Consequently, the programme for radical change embodied in the introduction of new far-reaching race relations legislation and the acceptance of Institutional Racism as a common denominator of experience of Black and minority ethnic people is being gradually eroded. As the language of anti-racism is replaced by the rhetoric of 'community cohesion', 'valuing diversity' and 'active citizenship', what emerges is a sharp move away from a rights-based framework to a law and order approach to race relations. The impact of this strategy on the region's minority communities is overwhelming. Added to the profound social exclusion experienced due to chronic under-investment in the minority community sector - the legacy of the 'no-problem colour blind' attitude - is the diversion of funding into urban Britain.
The extent to which racism is endemic in the region has been highlighted in a plethora of research reports, which criticise organisations for their failure to meet their statutory duties to develop policy and service delivery processes with the full and active engagement of Black and minority ethnic people across the South West.
So what is the future of race relations in rural Britain five years after the publication of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report? What are the real forces that will shape our future? Can the organisational agenda for change be properly shaped without the active involvement of those who have rights to racial justice and equality?
"The Future of Race Relations in the South West" offers an opportunity for practitioners, policy makers, service delivery organisations and minority ethnic communities to participate together to re-shape a regional race relations agenda.
This conference is open to all and is aimed at those working in organisations with legal duties to tackle racism and race hate crime, as well as people from the communities most effected. It will be of particular interest and relevance to:
Local Authorities ~
Criminal Justice Agencies ~
Trade Unions ~
Faith Groups ~
Crime Reduction & Community Safety Partnerships ~
NHS Trusts ~
Voluntary Organisations ~
Black and minority community groups ~
Housing Associations ~
Educational Establishments ~
and individuals who experience racism in the South West
It is likely that the conference will be heavily oversubscribed. There is a strict restriction on the number of places available, which will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. We would advise you to book as early as possible and by no later than Wednesday 4th February 2004 to avoid disappointment
Statutory agencies/Local Authorities - £25.00
Voluntary/Community organisation, faith groups and trade unions - £10.00
Student Bodies/Waged Individuals - £5.00
Unemployed/Unwaged/Students and Asylum Seekers - Free
The conference is organised by The Monitoring Group Rural Racism Project. For further information on booking a place at this event or our work in the South West, please contact us email:
TMG Rural Racism Project