THURROCK’S communities portfolio holder, cllr Lynn Worall, opened a major conference at the Thameside Theatre in Grays.
Cllr Worrall opened the first South East Regional Equality Conference, entitled The Big Debate which bought together policy shapers and experts in a number of fields to talk about some of the big equality issues facing communities and organisations.
Thurrock’s portfolio holder for equality and diversity told the conference she had spent 16 years championing equality for young people through her work with the Prince’s Trust.
Cllr Worrall said: “As a community champion I believe the issue of place has a big impact on equality. We have a rich history in the place called Thurrock. Some might even argue Thurrock is the birthplace of what is now a modern multicultural Britain as the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush at Tilbury brought the first wave of immigrants from the West Indies.”
She added: “While the Windrush generation faced many inequalities, the equality challenge continues to this day and includes many stark realities – for example violence against women and girls, the fight for disabled equality and the struggle for the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual groups.
“Now we have to start talking about social regeneration, not just physical regeneration, then we may have a shot at tackling some of the equality challenges ahead.”
Cllr Worrall went on to highlight the need for eduction, not just in schools, but throughout the community and the issues of an aging population with its own discriminatory problems.
Cllr Worrall concluded by saying: “In hard times and recession equality becomes more, not less, important. If there is a message we must all take away it’s that equality and diversity is more than ever, a critical driver for a cohesive community.”
Others at the event included: Baroness Prosser (Chair Equality of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Wes Streeting (Head of Education, Stonewall), Michael Keating (Previously National Advisor on Equalities and Cohesion LGA), to Maqsood Ahmad Director Human Rights and Equalities NHS, Diana Worman, Diversity Advsior CIPD and Janet Vietch Expert on Violence Against Women and Girls and Human Rights.