Diverse Magazine

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MY UNIVERSITY PAYS LIP SERVICE TO EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY

Universities trot out BME staff for photos in their prospectuses, but when it comes to promotions, we are left at the end of the queue. I am a member of my university’s BME staff group. Over the years, it has changed from a forum for us to discuss issues of racism, representation, and discrimination, to a co-opted showpiece for the university to show that it is doing its bit towards supporting equality. Many of us stopped attending meetings when we realised what this new incarnation meant. Our current BME staff tick lots of boxes for the university: we appear in the...

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DIVERSITY DEFICIT ROBS TOP FIRMS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES, STUDY SHOWS

According to Green Park study, among the 289 executive roles just 10 were held by people from ethnic minorities. Britain’s biggest companies have been warnedthat they are missing out on business opportunities because of the “diversity deficit” at the top of their organisations, where only a handful of senior roles are held by women or ethnic minorities. A new analysis into the 100 top individuals at each of the 100 largest UK companies found that only three of the chairmen (there is only one woman chair in the FTSE 100) were not white, all but five chief executives were white and...

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AT WORK: M&S DECISION GETS TO THE MEAT OF THE MATTER

M&S says its staff can refuse to sell pork and alcohol for religious reasons, opening up questions over best practice for employers faced with such decisions. With the news that M&S staff have been allowed to refuse to serve customers buying alcohol or pork products on religious grounds, interesting issues are raised about rights of religious freedom in the workplace. Not least, did M&S have to implement this policy? The simple answer is no, but it (as with any other employer) could have faced a risk of a claim for discrimination if it did not have good grounds to insist that...

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MERSEYSIDE BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2013 CELEBRATIONS HAILED AS THE BEST YET

As the 2013 Black History Month drew to a close on October 31st the Merseyside Black History Month Group announced that its calendar of events for 2013 was the most successful to date. The full month of activity featured scores of events across the region, highlighted by a brand new urban youth station Beat FM, the Cultural Food Feast at Sefton Park Palm House and the prestigious Black Achievers Awards at St George’s Hall on October 26th. Chair Clint Agard said, “It is indeed testament to the strong partnerships that we have managed to maintain in the region, through difficult...

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH CAN ONLY BE DECLARED A SUCCESS ONCE IT’S REDUNDANT

Uplifting stories of individual triumph, like those of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Mary Seacole, don’t do nearly enough to fill the knowledge gap When Vladimir Putin’s spokesman dismissed Britain as “a small island no one listens to”, David Cameron defended our nation’s honour by mentioning among its triumphs “that Britain helped to abolish slavery”. He made this statement without any apparent irony, or awareness that Britain was also one of the originators of the institution of slavery, certainly in the Atlantic context. As we have just ended Black History Month 2013 statements like this make it clear how much it is...

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THE MEANING OF MARTIN LUTHER KING’S SPEECH

I was asked what relevance King’s speech has in 21st-century Britain. Have you looked the employment market, or the so-called ‘war on drugs’ recently? I did a slew of radio interviews last week, marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Disorientating in its way because the various stations came down the same phone line one after the other: BBC Leeds, Devon, Scotland, Berkshire, Hereford and Worcester. Still, the conversations were a pleasure. Inevitably, presenters asked similar things – why was King’s speech such a great one? What was it about him? Why do we...

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HAS MARTIN LUTHER KING’S DREAM COME TRUE?

When I helped draft that 1963 speech, none of us imagined an African American president. But US society is far from post-racial… In 1963, I had a contentious meeting with Robert Kennedy. In defending the civil rights achievements of his brother John and the Justice Department during his tenure as attorney general, RFK predicted that, “in 40 years”, a negro might be president of the United States. Those of us who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr never contemplated the possibility of a black president in our lifetimes. Kennedy turned out to be off by only five years. In...

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BAYARD RUSTIN: THE GAY BLACK PACIFIST AT THE HEART OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

Though he was chief strategist for King’s march, Rustin was kept in the background as some organizers considered him a liability. He died in 1987, and is sometimes forgotten in civil rights history When civil rights leaders met at the Roosevelt Hotel in Harlem in early July 1963 to hammer out the ground rules by which they would work together to organise the March on Washington there was really only one main sticking point: Bayard Rustin. Rustin, a formidable organiser and central figure in the civil rights movement, was a complex and compelling figure. Raised a Quaker, his political development would take him...

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MUSLIM DEFENDANT NOT TO WEAR BURQA IN COURT

21-year-old woman from Hackney will not be allowed to enter a plea in court until she shows her face A judge has refused to allow a Muslim woman to stand trial in a full-length burqa as he said it would be possible for another person to enter the dock pretending to be her. Judge Peter Murphy told the 21-year-old defendant from Hackney in east London that he would not allow her to enter a plea in court until she showed her face. The woman, who is facing an allegation of intimidating a witness in Finsbury Park in June, told Blackfriars crown court she could...

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ENOUGH DONE BE ENOUGH – WOMEN, ENSLAVEMENT AND EMANCIPATION

The following is an excerpt from the Memorial Lecture that was delivered by Professor Verene Shepherd at the Liverpool Town Hall on August 22, 2013 as part of the annual Slavery Remembrance activities organised by National Museums Liverpool. I ask myself:  how did Liverpool become so mixed up in this crime against humanity? Prof Kenneth Morgan gives us a partial answer, writing that after Parliament ended the London-based Royal African Company’s official monopoly in England in 1698, private merchants in London, Bristol and Liverpool entered the transatlantic trade in Africans. By the 1740s Liverpool overtook Bristol and London to become...