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Dorset to host ground-breaking schools’ conference on racism & inequality

Posted on: 30/04/2021

A ground-breaking conference for secondary school students on racism and inequality will be taking place in Dorset in September 2021.

Lytchett Minster School, near Poole, will host schools from around the country for the ground-breaking event which will educate children in how to understand and deal with issues such as prejudice, bias and injustice.

Conference organiser, Beyond This, has to date run two human rights conferences.  In 2019, secondary school students from 40 schools around the South West came together to learn about human rights issues impacting our world. In particular, they heard from Richard Ratcliffe and his on-going struggle to free his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from detention in Iran as well as engaging with issues from modern slavery to climate change.

The new conference, FREE AND EQUAL?,  will physically take place at Lytchett Minster School near Poole, however the entire conference will be filmed and streamed LIVE to secondary schools across the country.

Students and teachers will be able to hear first-hand of the reality of growing up in the UK as a person of colour. They will learn and reflect on how prejudice, unconscious bias and unfair practices continue to perpetuate injustice in society and they will be equipped to dialogue about difference and challenge unfair systems.

Beyond This founder and conference director Peter Radford says, “Our society is losing the ability to listen openly and dialogue with people who have a different experience to our own. Due to the algorithms of internet search engines and social media platforms we are increasingly fed viewpoints that reinforce our prejudices in sound bites that usually exacerbate conflict and distrust and hinder positive engagement.”

The conference, being run in liaison with Amnesty International UK and Unicef UK’s Rights Respecting School Award, will aim to inspire change through growing awareness and emphasising the value of every human person: Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Of the many confirmed speakers is Lee Lawrence. Lawrence was 11 years old when his mother Cherry Groce was shot in front of him by police officers in Brixton in 1985. Lee will speak of his own journey in seeking justice and his work promoting Restorative Justice as a means to bring people and cultures together.

Also speaking will be Aisha Jawando who plays the lead role in Tina! The Tina Turner Musical as well as experts who will focus on awareness, education and activism in tackling racial inequality.

The conference is a not-for-profit venture and the organisers are appealing to individuals and businesses to get involved in sponsoring the event and taking part in the conversation about systemic racism.

“Nothing like this has ever been done before in the UK,” adds Radford. “We have the chance here to shift mindsets and promote greater harmony and understanding as well as celebrating the rich and beautiful diversity of our world.”

The conference will take place in Dorset on 21st September 2021:

Details of the conference can be found at


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