Keynote: Change and history in the era of Black Lives Matter

About the session

Thursday 24th June 2021, Live session 2*
16:40-17:20 EDT
21:40–22:20 BST
04:40-05:20 SGT (Friday 25th June 2021)

*Session repeats as per agenda sessions

The history of race and the struggle for equality is a history of missed opportunities. A history of conversations that were never had, insights that were never made and changes that were never implemented.

The moment we are currently living through could be yet another of those missed opportunities, and pushback against change is now considerable. Yet while governments engage in 'culture wars' companies, corporations, charities, universities and other institutions, across the world, are engaged in conversations and introspection about diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. Some are carrying out research into their historic links to Empire or slavery; others are examining their systems, practices and internal cultures through the lens of anti-racism, implementing real changes to advance skills and increase inclusion.

Accepting that racism is a systemic phenomenon and appreciating that it disfigures society to the disadvantage of all, it is organisations rather than governments that are at the centre of change and offer hope that this moment might not be another missed opportunity. But to understand race, and how to combat it, we need to understand its history. As it is that history that explains how race was constructed and offers us the blueprints for its potential deconstruction.

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