This time last week our colleagues Cynthia Ajayi and Princess Guobadia attended the Liverpool Against Racism Festival 2022. The event consisted of a one-day music showcase, partner events, and a conference including many inspirational individuals who all share one goal to eradicate racism from our city.

Princess gave her reflections on the conference and how certain guest speakers resonated with her and her experiences as a black British woman.

“It was extremely empowering to attend an event that celebrated so many different races, cultures, and experiences. I think it is extremely important to encourage difficult conversations on topics such as racism and how to take active steps towards eliminating it from society, which is something the festival managed to do so thoroughly and professionally.

There were many guest speakers who inspired me with their knowledge, expertise, and wisdom. I was extremely impressed when British historian David Olusoga OBE recognised the history of racism and how it was important to not forget its foundations. He stated that “there are decades when nothing happens, but there are weeks when decades happen”. His speech alone enabled me to face my own repressed memories and how I have suppressed them over the years to avoid uncomfortable thoughts and conversations. I also loved listening to Dr. Joanna Abeyie who facilitated the Diversity and Inclusion session and emphasized: if you work on your strengths, you become unique”. These are very inspiring words that will stay with me for a long time.

A standout moment for me was the Words of Power session, which centred around how channelling the Black experience through the written word has the potential to create awareness and change. Guest speaker, Jamaican poet, and author Levi Tafari realised that for his words to hold in society, they had to be solidified through writing. As a Nigerian woman with Nigerian heritage, I’ve had first-hand experience of the black British experience, so learning about Tafari’s journey and career, and his relationship with literature resonated with me massively.

In all, attending the Liverpool in Racism festival was extremely inspiring, fulfilling, and grateful. It made me feel proud to see how our city is taking an active approach to tackling racism and discrimination in our society. I fully recommend attending the festival next year as it encourages a union-like community for everyone in the Liverpool City Region from all backgrounds and communities. It’s a safe space for people to come together to share their thoughts, experiences, and guidance on tackling racial and social inequalities while discussing what significant change can look like.”

If you are looking for something for you or your workplace surrounding tackling racism, discrimination, or prejudice, The Women’s Organisation is running courses on Unconscious Bias on the 9th of May. Unconscious biases are preconceived judgments and assumptions we make against those around us in our day-to-day lives. Recognising these subconscious thoughts and taking active steps to challenge them can be a great way to create a more inclusive workplace and society. Click here to find out more and apply for your place.