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University colleagues to stage day of activism in memory of George Floyd

Date 21.05.2021

Staff from the University of Northampton will be marking the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd with a day of activism.

Floyd’s murder by US police in May 2020 sparked protests around the world against the use of excessive force by officers against black suspects and lack of police accountability.

On Tuesday 25 May, the University’s Global Ethnic Majority (GEM) Staff Network will host the day of activism, to honour the memory of Floyd and acknowledge how his painful death has heightened awareness of race equality in Higher Education and society as a whole.

The day will feature a radio interview with Stuart Lawrence, the brother of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993.

Stuart, pictured, is a former student of the forerunner of the University of Northampton, having graduated in 2001 from the Graphic Communication course at University College Northampton.

The interview will be aired on Northampton community radio station, Inspiration FM, and streamed on social media, as part of a day of activism special broadcast.

Stuart will be interviewed by Inspiration FM presenter, Mark Dean, at 10am, and will discuss his life, his role as a motivational speaker and his recently published book, Silence is Not an Option. Other members of the GEM network will also participate in the day of activism broadcast, which runs from 9am to midday.

Stuart said: “I was lucky enough to study at Northampton back in 1999 and one of my most lasting memories will be of how welcoming and caring and inclusive the University and the town was. I am looking forward to taking part in this day of activism.”

He added: “Since leaving university I’ve worked in many different places from Belmarsh prison to the Home Office. I’ve spent most my time being a school teacher teaching graphic design for 15 years, but I’ve now moved on to a new chapter of my life where I’ve recently become a published author. My first book is for young people to help them through difficult periods in their life to make sure that they can lead a more positive life.”

GEM co-chair, Marcella Daye, said: “GEM is delighted that Stuart Lawrence will be headlining our day of activism.  As a graduate of the University he is providing untiring leadership both to staff and students with his reputed anti-racism work and advocacy, and now with the publication of his new book.  Our partnership with Inspiration FM in hosting him for this live broadcast interview gives us a unique opportunity to celebrate his achievements as a notable graduate of colour who is a positive Changemaker with his inspirational message of hope and tolerance.”

Independent of the University, GEM holds a number of functions, including offering commentary about policy, consulting on GEM measures that will impact on staff and also provides advocacy work.

Tune in to Inspiration FM on Tuesday 25 May, between 9am and midday to listen to the day of activism broadcast. The station broadcasts on 107.8 FM in Northampton, and on its website.

Photo by Simin Fredericks.