|18 Nov 2021|
Rt Hon Stuart Lawrence - "Be a Revolutionary"
This week the Rt Hon Stuart Lawrence dared the Year 11s, 12s and 13s to be a ‘revolutionary’ as part of our SWPS Equality and Diversity Month. With openness Stuart talked of how he heard the news of his brother, Stephen Lawrence’s death on 22 April 1993, and then the very next day went back to school. He talked about how inspirational Stephen was and the impact the dreadful racially motivated murder had both on him, his family, and on British society as a whole.
Stuart challenged our thinking, highlighting the existence of micro-aggressions within our society and urging us to be anti-racist, actively making a difference in our own social groups and communities. Remarkably considering his and the Lawrence family’s decades long campaign for change and progress it was a talk full of hope and belief. Our students responded with an abundance of questions, with many staying behind to meet Stuart personally, who was extremely generous both with his time and with ‘prizes’ for students who had participated with his interactive talk. I am sure his story will serve as an inspiration for our students in the future.
Baroness Barker - "Untold Stories"
“Many years ago, I had the great fortune to meet someone,” declared Baroness Barker. “She and I have loved each other ever since.” These were her words in the House of Lords debate on the Gay Marriage Bill in June 2013 that reverberated around the World with headlines appearing as far afield as in the NY Times. She had just publicly come out. As part of this month’s celebrations of SWPS Equality and Diversity Month we welcomed Baroness Barker to speak to our Sixth Form and the Equali-Tea group.
Since her ground-breaking speech Baroness Barker has gone on to become Liberal Democrat spokesperson for LGBTQ+ issues. By highlighting the legal developments over the last 50 years and her own personal story, Baroness Barker spoke candidly and eloquently of the progress and struggles during her own lifetime over gay rights in this country and further afield. Her message was both hopeful and a warning that further challenges lay ahead. What shone through was her bravery and kindness. Our students very much enjoyed the talk and the opportunity to ask her numerous questions and we thank her for giving up her time to get our month of ‘Untold Stories’ off to an inspirational start.
Dr John McAleer - "19th Century Empire"
Our next event of the SWPS Equality and Diversity Month was in more of an academic guise. Dr John McAleer, History Professor at the University of Southampton spoke to the SWPS History and Politics Society last Wednesday.
SWPS Sixth Former, Izzy Man, expertly chaired the meeting as Dr McAleer took us on a journey around the world. He discussed the importance of trade in the origins of Empire, and covered virtually the whole globe with fascinating anecdotes. This fresh perspective on the beginnings of Empire challenged the narrative of 19th Century Empire we are more accustomed too. That said he was not allowed to escape without tackling the issues of slavery, occupation and critically legacy. Attended by keen historians from Year 10 upwards who shared their own stories of genealogy in some cases, from Guyana to Pakistan it was certainly a thought-provoking and interesting lecture.