Credit: Patrick Lewis

Event commemorates the international fight against racism

Image Credit: Patrick Lewis

Freedom City 2017 featured at a special event in the Houses of Parliament to mark the UN International Day for the Eradication of Racism. The theme this year is racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.

Organised by Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central, the reception took place in the Speaker’s State Rooms and was attended by members of Parliament, members of the House of Lords, academics, businesses and representatives from community groups.

The event included speeches from Speaker John Bercow MP, and representatives from The Voice newspaper. Pupils from St Michael’s Nursery in Brent performed Labi Siffre’s song ‘Something inside so strong’, and the event was brought to a close by the Voices of Virtue choir, who performed three songs.

The programme also included a speech by Chi Onwurah MP, Freedom City 2017 patron, who told those attending that 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr was awarded an honorary degree by Newcastle University, we still cannot say that racism is a thing of the past.

Chi Onwurah MP said: “The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reflects Dr King’s dream of a world without racism, poverty or war. I’m proud of the role Newcastle is playing in celebrating and embedding that dream this year.”

The International Day for the Eradication of Racism was established in 1966 by the United Nations General Assembly and takes place each year on 21st March. It was on this date in 1960 that police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid “pass laws”.

In addition to the event in the Speaker’s State Rooms, a debate took place in Westminster Hall to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. To accompany this, Dawn Butler has written a blog piece for Huffington Post about why it is important for Parliament to mark this important day.

For more information about the International Day for the Eradication of Racism, and other UN initiatives to promote equality and human rights, visit

Read Dawn Butler’s blog here: