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Law, racism and resistance
October 18 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pmfree
Black History Month Lecture
The momentous Black Lives Matter movement that swept through the UK following the police killing of George Floyd in the US in May 2020 exposed an uncomfortable and unsettling truth: thirty years after the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, institutional racism still exists, and remains both insidious and pervasive. On 18 October 2023, York Law School (YLS) will be delighted to welcome four powerful speakers who, drawing on their experiences as campaigners, lawyers, and writers, will explore the various ways in which racism is embedded within the structures and institutions of the legal system. This event, part of the Black History Month programme in YLS, aims to foster a vital conversation on how we can collectively resist institutional racism and strive for a future that is more just and equitable for all. Join us for this essential discussion.
About the speakers
Janet Alder has been campaigning for over 25 years for justice for her brother Christopher, who was killed by Humberside police in 1998. The police killing of Christopher Alder was one of the most notorious deaths in custody in the UK, involving the destruction of evidence, a whitewash of an investigation and unlawful surveillance. In 2011, it was discovered that the body Janet’s family had been given to bury at Christopher’s funeral eleven years earlier had in fact been that of Grace Kamara – a 77 year old Nigerian woman. Janet is currently writing a book – Defiance: The Fight for Justice for Christopher Alder – which will be published in 2024. The book will be both a probing exposé of what went on, based on exhaustive documentary evidence, as well as the personal story of Janet’s fight to uncover the truth. As a child of the Windrush generation, Janet will provide a devastating personal account of the ongoing systemic violence and racism experienced by her family at the hands of the British state, and her tireless campaign for justice.
Brian Richardson is a barrister at Nexus Chambers and practices primarily in criminal defence. He has a particular interest in human rights and civil liberties. Brian was called to the Bar in 2008 after many years working for campaigning groups, for organisations in the voluntary sector and within the trade union movement. Following the publication of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report in 1999, Brian was a policy officer for a think-tank which worked with schools, local councils and other public bodies to develop practices and procedures to promote race equality. Brian also worked with the family of Stephen Lawrence on the ongoing case surrounding the police allegedly seeking intelligence to smear the family as they took action to challenge their son’s murder.
Matt Foot is the Co-director of APPEAL, a charity and law practice dedicated to fighting miscarriages of justice and demanding reform. Matt has previously worked as a defence solicitor at the law firm Birnberg Peirce for more than 17 years, building a reputation as one of the country’s top miscarriage of justice lawyers and acting in a number of high-profile criminal appeals, as well as specialising in protest cases. Alongside his legal practice, Matt has established himself as a leading voice in the fight to make the system fairer for those at the sharp end of criminal justice. Previously he co-led the campaign to protect legal aid, co-founding Justice Alliance; and to review the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).
Morag Livingstone is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer, and internationally published author. She is co-author of two best-selling narrative non-fiction books, Hackney Child and Tainted Love. Morag recently co-authored with Matt Foot, Charged: How the Police Try to Suppress Protest (Verso, 2022) – an investigation into violent and authoritarian police tactics. The book presents a disturbing account of the repressive policing of anti-racist protests at Welling in 1993 and the recent Black Lives Matter movement. Morag is an Associate Lecturer at London University of the Arts in moving image. She has made numerous short films for trade unions and campaign organisations, including the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.