The ‘Look How Far We’ve Come: Racism, The Bristol Bus Boycott, Black History Month, The Black Sections, And Where Are We In Today’s Union Jack?’ book and ‘Look How Far We’ve Come: Commentaries On British Society And Racism?’ DVD, which document African British histories and racism respectively, were launched at the House Of Commons on Tuesday.
“It was important to launch at the House of Commons in order to show the connection of the activities of community groups and activism on the streets, such as the Bristol Bus Boycott, led to the House enacting the first Race Relations Act of 1965,” said history consultant and project leader Kwaku.
Attendees were shown part one of the DVD, featuring contributors such as the academic Prof Paul Gilroy, veteran politician Tony Benn, Harrow Mayor Cllr Nana Asante, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, former Conservative peer Lord John Taylor, trade unionist Wilf Sullivan, and educationalists and community activists such as Dr Morgan Dalphinis, Toyin Agbetu and Lee Jasper, giving their views as to how far Britain had come in dealing with racism and racial equality issues.
“If we were truly a representative democracy, there would be eighty minority and ethnic members of parliament,” said David Lammy MP, who hosted the event.
“So when we talk about how far we’ve come, we know that we are on a journey and there’s much that has been accomplished, but we know too that there’s much more to do. And also that the truth about racism and discrimination is that that if you get complacent, and take your foot off the brakes, things slip back, and people forget what the struggle is.
“I am very worried that currently we have a government that doesn’t even seem to want to talk about racism. They will talk about diversity. They certainly will talk about immigration, but they don’t want to talk about the fact of discrimination and racism.”
The book and DVD will be published by new community organisation African Histories Revisited on May 1, ahead of the Look How Far We’ve Come: Getting Racism Back On The Agenda? Conference is set for Thursday May 8, 6-9pm at The Abbey Centre in Westminster.
Although the resources aren’t aimed directly at young people, young people in the audience gave their views. “One of the most exciting things for me this evening were the voices of the young people. Because we have hope here. We can see articulate young people who get it, they understand it,” said Lord Taylor. “History is important, but the future is even more important.”
Lord Taylor, who runs a mentoring scheme for young people to be leaders, who do “not to look at the problems, but to look for solutions”, highlighted the story of the dyslexic boy, who was put in a remedial class, and who many had not given a fighting chance. He somehow got into art school, won a Turner Prize, a Bafta award, and may win an Oscar – “his name is Steve McQueen.”
See LookHowFar.eventbrite.com for further details.