Thank you to everyone who has recently been moved to support the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. Our hope is that, rising from the ashes of these immediate actions, people will continue to support charities like us, who are striving to create the systemic change we need so that everyone can live in a world where their lives are valued, their aspirations are encouraged, and they are seen and treated equally.
Change takes time, but we no longer have the luxury of delaying it. Racism, discrimination and under-representation are attitudes and behaviours we should all stand against. They cannot be resolved by short-term outrage or a quick fix. It is an arduous journey, but unless we act, the challenges will outlive us, blighting more lives. We need to fight together if we are to win this war.
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has a clear set of powerful objectives which are firmly rooted in tackling the artificial barriers which hold so many people back, particularly those from Black and Minority Ethnic heritage, who are often further disenfranchised by the lack of social mobility. We do not believe that an accident of birth should affect your life chances and we challenge the situation every day through our high-impact and often under-funded work.
We are honoured to work with people who dare to dream, people who strive for excellence, but who too often find themselves seeking ‘permission’ to simply ‘be’. Is a seat at the table really that difficult to achieve? Do those who attended the best schools, and lead the most prestigious organisations really continue to ‘not understand’? Do they really believe that these issues can be addressed by booking themselves onto another ‘unconscious bias’ course with the same content as the ‘equality’ course they attended some years before?
Writing and talking about the same issues on different days is exhausting for us all, but no more so than the peril that awaits us if we don’t change. Until we demolish the sense of ‘otherness’ from our subconscious, I fear our work is far from done.
Sonia Watson OBE, Hon. FRIBA, Hon.FRIAS