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Stephen Lawrence Day: Live your best life

Stephen Lawrence Day: Live your best life

This year on 22 April it was the first annual Stephen Lawrence Day, to commemorate the anniversary of his death to a racist attack.

Our Stephen Lawrence Committee decided to mark the day with a series of workshops and talks about how racism still effects people today.

University of Leeds teaching fellow Richard Tavernier spoke to students about how racism has been built into societies for hundreds of years, and how the murder of Stephen Lawrence showed that was still the case in 1993.

He encouraged the students to think about how they come into contact with racism and how they can challenge this.

“Stephen Lawrence Day is about the part we all play in creating a society in which everyone can flourish. It is an opportunity for children and young people to have their voices heard, make the changes they’d like to see and create a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.”

The students also took part in a workshop with West Yorkshire Police and some of their ex-offenders about how your decisions as a young person can change your life forever.

They worked together in groups to think about what a life in prison would be like; how it would affect them, their family and friends.

West Yorkshire Police and the ex-offenders were there to help them understand the true impact of prison, both short and long term.

The ex-offenders shared their stories, explaining what led them to do what they did and how it changed them. You don’t have to be a bad person to go to prison, you just need to make bad choices.

The students heard from Tony Gibson who spent 22 years in prison. He told them about how his environment and choices as an 8 year old meant that his path in life led him straight into crime. But that after so long he’s finally got his life a way he is not only happy about, but proud of.

As the students listened, Tony encouraged them to think about the things they did have, rather than dwell on the things they didn’t. He was incredibly honest telling his story, and we are very thankful for this.

The purpose of the workshop was to help our students think about how they can live their best lives and how those lives start from right now.

Through our Stephen Lawrence Committee we want our students to help create the kind of community they want to live in, both here in the Academy and at home. This is one of our core co-operative beliefs and it was an honour to celebrate Stephen’s life.