Special event to commemorate Stephen Lawrence held in Welwyn Garden City
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Officers and staff around the county have been joining with partners and local communities to commemorate the life of Stephen Lawrence.
Stephen was murdered in a racist attack in south London in 1993, when he was just 18 years old. Stephen Lawrence Day was created by the Stephen Lawrence Foundation as a celebration of his life and legacy. It exists to inspire a more equal, inclusive society, and to foster opportunities for marginalised young people in the UK.
Events are taking place all around the county and on Saturday (22 April), officers from Welwyn Hatfield joined with the local community at The Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City to commemorate Stephen’s short life. The event was organised by the Welwyn Hatfield Unity of Culture Forum and attended by the borough’s Mayor, Councillor Barbara Fitzsimon.
The forum aims to bring together the diverse communities of Welwyn Hatfield and give them a voice. It is run independently but supported by local partners such as the police who are also invited to attend.
Saturday’s event included a speech and presentation by Hate Crime Officer Andrea Haughton who spoke about the work the constabulary is doing to build better relations with the Black community.
Earlier in the week, Andrea had visited the University of Hertfordshire to deliver a presentation about Stephen Lawrence. She was joined by Daniella Divina Broomes, the founder and Chair of the Unity of Culture Forum. They attended the Art and Design school where the students were briefed to create posters in relation to Stephen and his legacy. Powerful and thought-provoking images were produced and these were showcased at Saturday’s event.
Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Kash Hussain said: “Stephen Lawrence Day is an opportunity for the police to reflect on the efforts we make to support our Black community. This is something I feel very strongly about, both due to my own experience as a police officer from an ethnic minority and due to the huge diversity amongst those living, working and studying in Welwyn Hatfield. I am grateful to the Unity of Culture for inviting us along and we will continue to seek their valuable input on how we can best support our diverse community groups.”
Daniella Divina Broomes, Founder and Chair of the Unity of Culture Forum, said: “The Howard Centre came alive this past Saturday. The community has been calling out for more cultural, informative and uplifting events.
“The marking of 30 years since Stephen Lawrence's passing was particularly important following Louise Casey's report which shows there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Institutional racism is still a great and undeniable problem. Distrust will not cease until change is made! UOC will continue to lift the voices of all ethnically diverse communities and continue to offer counsel to services of Welwyn Hatfield and the wider community.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to promoting race and inclusion both within the force and in the communities it serves. This work is ongoing, and the force is fully supporting the new National Race Action Plan, which aims to address race disparities affecting Black people and change a legacy of distrust.
The plan complements the work already taking place within Hertfordshire Constabulary, a key a part of which is the creation of a new ‘Race and Inclusion Board’. This board is made up of volunteers from the Black communities in Hertfordshire. Its role is to track our progress against our objectives around race and diversity, as well as those in the national plan and to observe and advise.
The board met in February where the issue of stop and search was discussed. Meetings will continue throughout the year covering a range of subjects.
Unity of Culture would like to thank The Howard Centre for providing a space for this event to take place, Welwyn Hatfield Community and Voluntary Services for their great support, time and efforts. Last but not least to all of the forum’s partners and contributors:
Hertfordshire Black Diaspora
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Herts Black and Asian Police Association
Stephen Lawrence Foundation
Lagniappe Mas Band
Hertfordshire Visual Arts (Heather Miller and team)
Peartree Primary School
University of Hertfordshire-school of creative arts and year 1 students