This week Liverpool makes history by hosting the unique and culturally important festival – Liverpool Against Racism (LAR). The brainchild of Mayor Joanne Anderson – LAR incorporates a music day, two conferences and a whole host of cultural events which will creatively explore the subject of discrimination and what it means in today’s society. Here, Mayor Joanne shares her ambitions for the festival and reflects on the strength we have in solidarity.
As the first black woman to be a directly elected mayor in the UK, I am incredibly proud we are staging Liverpool Against Racism (LAR) – a weeklong festival which is dedicated to taking a stand against racism and celebrating diversity in all its forms.
Liverpool Against Racism is a city-wide statement of solidarity against racism and hate. It’s of huge cultural importance and once again, Liverpool is leading the way and speaking out against social injustice. My ambition for this festival is to set Liverpool apart as a city that doesn’t shy away from addressing the issue of racism.
Throughout the week, there will be live talks and debates, music and cultural events across the whole of Liverpool. Talking about race may well be uncomfortable and, for some, upsetting, but it is also empowering, thought-provoking, ambitious, impactful and quite simply, essential. In planning LAR, I asked organisations and individuals to become catalysts of societal change by supporting the festival.
Everyone who gets involved across the week – whether they’re a musician, gig-goer, conference delegate, speaker, event partner or sponsor, is demonstrating their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion – and I am deeply grateful for that.
Liverpool – our city by the sea – has always been an outward looking city that stretches out its arms and welcomes all who come here. We have a strong sense of identity and are proud of our heritage embedded in our communities. We are a City of Sanctuary and for generations have offered a home to people fleeing persecution from around the world.
The Black community of Liverpool is Britain’s oldest, with some being able to trace their black heritage for as many as ten generations.
Our rich heritage is made up of people from different communities, faiths and backgrounds and we celebrate our differences. We know we are stronger when we stand side-by-side, united and embracing our differences, celebrating the common humanity that connects us all. Liverpool Against Racism is just the beginning. I’m excited to see what the future holds for our city.