News story from King Edward's Witley

Stuart Lawrence visits King Edward's during Black History Month

On Friday 8 October, as part of Black History Month, the Right Honourable Stuart Lawrence visited King Edward’s Witley for a talk to an audience of pupils, teachers and staff.

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8th October 2021 — Stuart’s story was powerful and thought provoking. He spoke without malice about the tragic murder of his 18 year old brother Stephen in a racist attack in April 1993, and how his family had to adjust to the sudden loss of a son and brother. In his talk, Stuart highlighted ‘micro aggressions’ and ‘unconscious bias’; the stereo-typical perceptions cast about black people. The importance of community relations was reinforced throughout his presentation, and he paused before declaring to the audience that “we all have privileges; we need to have understanding and respect”.

Stuart is a hugely optimistic and personable character. He spoke about his book, ‘Silence is not an option’, which he wrote (as a dyslexic) during lockdown. It is filled with advice and questions for young people including ‘facing the fear of failing head on’. The afternoon came to a close after many enthusiastic questions from the pupils in the audience and a loud round of applause.

Chelsea, Lower Sixth pupil, said “Stuart reinforced the importance of coming together as a community and spoke about the prevalence of racism in the UK, encouraging the pupils at King Edward’s to participate in an open discussion.”

Azariah, fellow Lower Sixth pupil said “Everyone who attended was moved by the story of Stephen Lawrence’s death. It was an honour for Chelsea and I to have the chance to discuss a range of topics and to ask Stuart some questions before his talk. The Q&A with the audience prompted very stimulating responses - it was so inspirational and thought-provoking.”

King Edward's Witley (Coed 11-18) is a day and boarding school in Surrey.

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