Silence is Not an Option

22 Apr
12:00 pm
Online event

On 22 April 1993, the country was shocked by the murder of 18 year old Stephen Lawrence in an unprovoked, racist attack. The subsequent investigation, and public enquiry highlighted the structural and systemic racism across the country.

This event, brought to you by the City of London Corporation's BAME Network, took place on 22 April, Stephen Lawrence Day 2021, and features a talk from Stephen's brother, Stuart, and performances from leading Black artists.

Stuart Lawrence talks about his experiences as a teacher, about Stephen and also his legacy. Following a short Q&A are performances by poet and performer Zena Edwards and singer Chisara Agor.

Join us to reflect on the impact of racism throughout our communities, but also hope for an equal and inclusive future for those experiencing racial discrimination in all its forms.

Watch the recording of the event via the Do It link below.

Stephen's story

Stephen Lawrence was born and grew up in south-east London, where he lived with his parents Neville and Doreen, his brother Stuart and sister Georgina.

Like most young people, he juggled an active social life, school work, family commitments, and part-time employment. But he also had ambitions to use his talent for maths, art, and design to become an architect, and wanted to have a positive impact on his community.

Tragically, his dream of becoming an architect was never realised. On 22 April 1993, at the age of just 18, Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. He didn’t know his killers and his killers didn’t know him.

After the initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the Macpherson Report, which has been called ‘one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain’.

It led to profound cultural changes in attitudes to racism, to the law and to police practice. It also paved the way for a greater understanding of discrimination of all forms and new equalities legislation.

Taken from the Stephen Lawrence Day website.

Chisara Agor

Chisara Agor is a multidisciplinary artist from Peckham, London. Ever-shifting environments, constantly (r)evolving juxtapositions of experience, are recurring themes in much of Chisara’s art. Her works span the music, theatre, film and art world shifting between a seamless melting-pot of sounds, self-expressions and story-telling. In all her work there is an impulse to reimagine and critique worlds, while inviting public conversation and self-reflection.  

Her new singles Forever & Better Man released on Ixchel from her upcoming EP Shadows and Searchlights, demonstrate her bringing to light the current interplay between the personal and political in London and beyond. Chisara Agor continues to advocate for more art that encourages a change in the world and an industry that is representative of all.   

Zena Edwards

Zena Edwards is a poet and performer who uses song, movement and global influences as a jump-off for her words.

She defines the fusion of poetry and music by including traditional African-instrumentation (the Kalimba and Kora) and new technology, to create her own sound tracks for her poems and stories, producing a body of work that reaches culturally and generationally diverse audiences on an international level. She fuses Jazzy Hip-Hop grooves, heavily influenced by her world music collaborations, with South African musicians including Pops Mohamed, one of her most important mentors.

She was recently Resident Poet at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, and shortlisted for the first Arts Foundation Award for Performance Poetry. She has also produced two CDs, entitled Healing Pool and Mine 4 Life.

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