One Vision Leads Community Event for Stephen Lawrence Day

One Vision Leads Community Event for Stephen Lawrence Day

By Sharon Platt-McDonald BUC Director for Adventist Community Services, Health and Women's Ministries.

"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed…"

Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)

Thirty years on from the callous, racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence, a community united to combat racism and stood in solidarity in honour of Stephen's memory and a commitment seeking to forge a future void of racial atrocities at the Watford Grammer School for Boys.

On Wednesday, 26 April 2023, One Vision charity hosted a remembrance, reflection and resolve programme for positive change in their stand against racism. The event at Watford Grammar School for Boys, James Theatre, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD18 7JF, was preceded by a Peace Walk convening at Watford Football Club, with community leaders addressing the attendees before marching to the school. The procession, accompanied by several police officers, included school children and community representatives, carrying banners with captions calling for equality, justice and celebrating differences.

The capacity audience, chaired by TV broadcaster Gillian Joseph, incorporated representatives from government, media, police force, fire service, clergy, schools, NHS and voluntary agencies. An array of dignitaries, speakers and musicians enhanced the programme's richness.

Seventh-day Adventist participation was prevalent throughout the event, with various presenters from the British Union Conference (BUC) and ministerial representatives from the South England Conference. These included BUC President Pastor Eglan Brooks; Pastor Warren Gillian, One Vision Community Connector; BUC Director Dr Kirk Thomas; Sharon Platt-McDonald, One Voice Chair; and Dr Jude Jeanville, President of One Vision's African Caribbean Dual Heritage Alliance (ACDHA).

The audience was delighted with excellent music interspersed between presentations. The performance was enthralling, with pieces from harpists Isabela and Sophia. Equally, we were immensely proud of the musical contributions of students of Stanborough Secondary School, as they skilfully presented items from the hand chimes choir and string ensemble.

This April 2023 marked the 30th anniversary of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. Stephen Lawrence Day was instituted in 2019 to commemorate his life and continuing legacy and is held each year on 22 April as an annual observance.

In a press release inviting attendees to the event, the following One Vision Trustee members shared their observations about the impact of Stephen Lawrence Day:

Enoch Kanagaraj, Founder and CEO of One Vision charity, states:

"Stephen Lawrence Day gives us a chance to think about how racism impacts many aspects of society and what we can do to overcome it. The mosaic created also allows us to recognise and celebrate the amazing contributions of our community connectors and other Hertfordshire statutory bodies. We are delighted that our partnership working with Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust is tackling inequalities in mental health through collaboration with One Vision and leaders from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds."

Harjit Singh DL, Chair of One Vision Trustees, says:

"Racism is an abhorrence that we must all reject. Addressing inequality and discrimination, strengthening support for the most vulnerable and providing opportunities for everyone. I am delighted that One Vision is taking that step in Hertfordshire and beyond by working with various communities."

Sharon Platt-McDonald, Chair of One Voice and One Vision Trustee, asserts:

"In marking Stephen Lawrence Day, we seek to acknowledge the injustice of the past, renounce the evil of racism and confront discrimination. Whilst we appreciate the progressive steps towards a safer and fairer Britain, more needs to be done. May our collective differences enrich our contribution to building a stronger, more united, and inclusive society. As we work together for a better tomorrow, we can be the change we wish to see for ourselves and future generations."

This One Vision event featured dynamic presentations and plans to uphold justice, rectify the wrongs of the past and make the right choices to save lives for the future. The message of Isaiah 1:17 NLT to "…do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed" was evident in the day's theme. Indeed, we must never cease to challenge ideologies that divide, philosophies that idolise race above reason, position culture above cohesion, and foster practices that hinder, harm, and diminishes any individual, detracting from the lofty intentions God designed for us.

Pastor Jude Jeanville

Enoch Kanagaraj

Sharon Platt-Mcdonald

Watford Observer covered the event in their newspaper. You can access the story here: