Father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence to be guest speaker at Northampton hate crime conference

Date 24.05.2024

Dr Neville Lawrence OBE is set to be a keynote speaker at the Understanding Hate Crime: Victims and Community Perspectives Conference set to take place at the University of Northampton (UON) in June.

The conference will hear contributions from hate crime experts, family members of victims, counter extremism professionals, as well as members of community groups, the public sector, and charities.

The conference, on Tuesday 18 June, is open to all and aims to gather the thoughts and experiences of those impacted by hate crime.

Other confirmed speakers or contributors at the conference, include:

  • Mike Haines OBE, founder of Global Acts of Unity and brother of David Haines, the British humanitarian worker murdered by Daesh in September 2014.
  • Figen Murray OBE, whose son, Martyn Hett, was one of the 22 people killed in the devastating Manchester Arena terrorist attack.
  • Paul Gianassi OBE, Hate Crime Advisor to the National Police Chiefs’ Council in the UK.

Dr Lawrence said he will be attending the conference as it was the racism and hatred for black people which drove on his son’s killers 31 years ago.

He added: “This conference is important because hate crime is rather on the increase, and this is mainly fuelled by extremists who spread hate and want to influence people with their negative ideologies.

“We need to learn from what has happened in the past and work with all communities and institutions to fight and resist the ignorant people with these extremist views and encourage everyone to work together for a more inclusive society which accepts difference and delivers equity to everyone.”

Abdul-Hye Miah, UON’s Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice, has led the team organising the conference. He was a Met Police Officer for 30 years and after the September 11 attacks in 2001, he brought about a sea-change in the way the force worked with Muslim communities to combat terrorism.

He said: “The rise of the far right and growth in extremist views is the biggest threat we face to a free and open society, and we all have a stake in finding the solutions.

“From my experience I know that genuine dialogue between the authorities and the communities they serve, is the only way to find effective solutions.

“I hope the conference will bring together those people who have taken on the solemn duty to protect us, and those communities who are hijacked by extremists to spread their messages of hate. I hope it will inspire new ways of thinking, open new dialogue and find new strategies to counter the scourge of extremism.”

Key learnings from this conference will feed into future dialogue in relation to tackling hate crime.

Places at the conference are limited but it is free to attend. To reserve a place, visit www.trybooking.com.