October is Black History Month. In a year that has seen extraordinary protests around the world under the banner of Black Lives Matter, but has also observed the unequal racial impact of COVID-19 in many parts of the word, we can think of no more appropriate conversation than one between Wendy Williams, who conducted on behalf of the Home Office, UK Government the independent review of the effect of immigration policy on the Windrush generation, and Dr Shreya Atrey whose recent book on intersectional discrimination was runner-up for the prestigious Peter Birks Prize. The conversation will cover what the Lessons Learned Review discovered about the Windrush generation and discuss its recommendations, in particular, recommendation 6 which reads: "The Home Office should: (a) devise, implement and review a comprehensive learning and development programme which makes sure all its existing and new staff learn about the history of the UK and its relationship with the rest of the world, including Britain's colonial history, the history of inward and outward migration and the history of Black Britons. This programme should be developed in partnership with academic experts in historical migration and should include the findings of this review, and its ethnographic research, to understand the impact of the department's decisions; b) publish an annual return confirming how many staff, managers and senior civil servants have completed the programme.” Other questions to be covered will be what can we learn from the Windrush report about what we should do better to address the racial legacy of Empire? And what does this recommendation mean for higher education institutions? This is an online public conversation hosted by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and Mansfield College, Oxford.
Wendy Williams is HM Inspector of Constabulary, and HM Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services. She has responsibility for 13 police forces across Wales and the West of England and 11 fire and rescue services in the West of England, and is the Senior Responsible Officer for the Criminal Justice and Joint Inspections portfolio. She was previously a Chief Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service and before that a solicitor and partner in private practice. Wendy Williams is also the author of the independent Lessons Learned Review into the Home Office and its handling of events leading up to the Windrush Scandal. This was presented to Parliament in March 2020. More recently, she was also appointed as a non-executive director of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Dr Shreya Atrey is an Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the Department of Continuing Education and the Faculty of Law, based at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. Her research is on discrimination law, feminist theory, poverty and disability law. Her monograph, Intersectional Discrimination (OUP 2019), which won the runners-up Peter Birks Book Prize in 2020, presents an account of intersectionality theory in comparative discrimination law. Shreya is currently working on project on 'Equality Law in Times in Crisis' funded by the British Academy.
The panel will be chaired by Helen Mountfield QC, Principal of Mansfield College.