The trade union Community have announced that they will be partnering with the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation to promote racial equality in schools and keep the legacy of Stephen Lawrence alive amongst children and young people.
The partnership, announced on February 25th, will work to support teachers to deliver lessons around the story of Stephen’s life to teach young people about tolerance and anti-discrimination. Community, representing thousands of teachers nationally in the early years and education sector, will be the charity’s first trade union partner.
Roy Rickhuss CBE, General Secretary of Community, says:
“Stephen Lawrence Day reminds us all of the role we all have to play in creating a society free from racism and prejudice. We are very clear that racism is a trade union issue. It affects people inside and outside the workplace – whether that be with discrimination, access to decent jobs, equal pay or the disproportionate deaths that BAME communities have suffered from Coronavirus.
Last year, the tragic death of George Floyd once again brought systemic and structural racism to the forefront of the public imagination. It showed us that despite the significant progress made over the past few decades, there is still so much more to do.
We are immensely proud to be partnering with the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. This work will enable teachers to effectively have sometimes difficult conversations in the classroom around race and discrimination, as well as equipping them with the tools to teach young people about tolerance and antiracism to create a better and more equal future for us all.”
Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon OBE says:
“Today’s schoolchildren are perhaps the most engaged generation there has ever been – keenly aware of injustices around them and with a strong desire to root them out. Britain has to continue to work towards a fairer society, there remains progress to be made and now is not the time for complacency.
Not all of schoolchildren today may have heard the name Stephen Lawrence or know his story. But the last year has shown us that Stephen’s story – unequal treatment because of skin colour, and exposure of embedded prejudice in systems, structures and institutions – is as relevant today as it has ever been.
I’m very proud to be partnering with Community – a modern trade union rooted in diverse communities across the UK. I look forward to working together to empower educators across the country to have those conversations in the classroom, share Stephen’s legacy and work with young people to build the kind of society we all want to see.”
Stephen Lawrence’s mother, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, inaugurated the first annual Stephen Lawrence Day in 2019. Established by the then Prime Minister Theresa May on the 25th anniversary of Stephen’s death, it is a day dedicated to Stephen’s memory that also allows people to reflect upon the part we all play in creating a society in which everyone can flourish.
The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation is the home of Stephen’s legacy, and is led by Baroness Lawrence. Community is a trade union representing 55,000 workers across the country in all sectors.