On Thursday, 15th October we held our second annual Chambers INSPIRE Black History Month Event. Our hosts for the evening were Rieta Ghosh, Editor-in-Chief and INSPIRE Executive Sponsor for Cultural Inclusion, and Arriela Grimes, Executive Assistant and INSPIRE Chair for Cultural Inclusion. We were delighted to welcome two incredible guest speakers: Alexandra Wilson, Barrister at 5 St. Andrew’s Hill and Leslie Thomas QC, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers. You can watch the full event here.
The event began with an introduction from Rieta outlining the progress already made by the INSPIRE Committee, including launching a Black Focus Group and committing to producing an Ethnicity Pay Gap report. This was followed by a speech by Arriela that was both heartbreaking and inspiring as she addressed how the events of this year have shone existing inequalities into an even sharper focus, as well as urging more positive action from companies and individuals to be explicitly anti-racist.
The Chambers introductions were followed by keynote speeches by our two guest presenters. Leslie and Alexandra both infused their personal histories and experiences with wider issues to illustrate the nature of systemic racism in society, as well as portraying how it manifests in the legal profession. While Leslie gave a history of anti-black racism in the UK that provided context for the situation we are now in, Alexandra offered practical advice for how individuals and organisations can do more to tackle racism in all its forms.
The speeches were followed by a Q&A session, allowing our Chambers colleagues to interact directly with both speakers and address broader issues, including the impact of social media and how to keep the momentum for positive action going beyond Black History Month. The event closed with a moving recital of ‘Catch the Fire’, a poem by Sonia Sanchez that was read by Arriela.
To watch the full event, click here.