The Law Society’s Black History Month Inspiration Evening 2016
The Law Society of England and Wales held for the sixth year, an event in London to celebrate Black History Month. The inspirational evening was chaired by Stephanie Boyce and featured a line-up of speakers including Claudine Adeyemi, Joy Akah-Douglas, District Judge (MC) Tan Ikram, and Tom Lawal.
Christina Blacklaws who is the deputy vice-president of The Law Society gave the welcome speech. She noted how widely received and successful the events have been over the years. Her speech progressed to encapsulate the Law Society’s effort to ensure equality and diversity within the profession. The underlying message was very reassuring as it depicted that progress was being made although there is a far road ahead.
The evening proceeded with District Judge (MC) Tan Ikram making his incredibly entertaining and motivational speech. A brief description of his background in Slough and his education at Wolverhampton Polytechnic was relatable and destroyed notions on who can become a judge. His experience depicted that there was no easy road to success and one might encounter the unbelievers- who will doubt one’s ability to change the status quo. However, he pointed that self-belief and confidence is the ultimate driver to success.
A remarkable attribute that the speakers shared in common was the ability to see a goal even when the chances seemed slim. Claudine Adeyemi mentioned the difficulty she experienced as a child being raised by a single parent and the adversities that came her way when her relationship with her father broke down at the age of 16. One could only admire her strength and growth to persevere through these moments in her life. Her approach to cyclical nature of goals were captured in three quotes:
- ‘Ability is nothing without opportunity’
- ‘Set goals Achieve Repeat’
- ‘Aim High Achieve Higher’
Furthermore, with an incredible use of imagery, Joy Akah-Douglas was able to teleport us to December 1, 1955 where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the coloured section to a white passenger. She noted that history making was not the revolution that many often imagine but simple acts such as the attendance of the inspirational evening. Her incredible confidence and strength is admirable as she ploughed through several adversities and continues to be optimistic about her ‘story’. She advised Black and Ethnic Minority individuals not to give out or give into the troubling statistics that make predictions on chances of being successful. We are the writers of our own story and just as good as anyone else were her encouraging words.
The last speaker was Tom Lawal whose remarks on his Nigerian heritage was comical and relatable. A narration of his journey to become a barrister and his passion for human rights was highly admirable. He spoke on how he has influenced the recruitment of Black and Ethnic Minority Barristers at St Ives Chambers, Birmingham.
Subsequently, there was a Q&A session where attendees were given the opportunity to direct questions to the panel. The evening ended with networking and a delicious buffet served free of charge. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet professionals and students in a very positive and welcoming environment. The event was free and it is recommended that students attend upcoming events organised by the Law Society that are tailored to students. Overall, the event was an absolute delight to attend and I left feeling totally inspired.
Special thanks to the Law Society for the opportunity and for organising a truly inspirational evening.
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