Black History Month talks focus on justice and change

Published: 28 September 2022 at 16:41

Natasha Shotunde

ARU will host three free events including Olaudah Equiano Annual Lecture on Race Justice

A series of free talks focusing on racial justice, history and change, have been organised by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) to mark Black History Month.

An ‘in conversation’ online event on 4 October will see ARU alumnus Jon Berry talk about his new book, Brutish Necessity, which tells a tale from Black Birmingham’s past that illuminates the present.

Berry explores the tale of Jamaican immigrant Oswald Grey, who was aged just 20 when he was executed in 1962 following a shooting during a bungled robbery. Brutish Necessity unearths some neglected history, explaining why racism remains stubbornly stitched into British society sixty years after Grey’s hasty conviction and execution.

Brutish Necessity: Bringing a piece of forgotten Black history to life takes place on Tuesday, 4 October at 7.30pm.

On Thursday, 13 October, award-winning science journalist and broadcaster Angela Saini will give the Olaudah Equiano Annual Lecture on Race Justice.

Entitled Pathologising Race and presented by the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Race Equality Committee, Saini talks about scientific myths about human difference that live on in disturbing ways, particularly in medicine, as shown by the lazy speculation that surrounded discussion of racial disparities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even well-intentioned scientists inappropriately invoke these false ideas and perpetuate biological essentialism.

The free online event begins at 7pm on 13 October. The Olaudah Equiano Annual Lecture on Race Justice is named after the 18th Century writer and antislavery activist who lived in Soham, after marrying a Cambridgeshire woman, and who became Britain’s first Black civil servant.

The third event sees ARU honorary Natasha Shotunde examine the justice system in which she works as an award-winning barrister. Statistics show that, for those working within it, there is a consistent trend of Black barristers being underrepresented in key positions, as well as aspiring Black barristers struggling to enter the profession. In this talk, Shotunde will share her experiences as a barrister, and will discuss the work being done to tackle discrimination at the Bar.

Time for Change: Actions not words, a view from the legal profession will take place on Tuesday, 25 October at 7pm. The talk takes place online.

Miriam Berg, Public Engagement Officer for Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) said:

“We are honoured to welcome three very special guests for this year’s Black History Month events at ARU. Each of them lends a unique perspective to issues of race, justice and discrimination.

“All three talks will be given online so I hope that as many people as possible will join us for these free and fascinating events.”

Although all events are free of charge, tickets must be booked in advance. Get more information on Black History Month events at ARU.