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Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Race Relations Act

ANNIVERSARY: Sadiq Khan MP, Baroness Prashar, Lord Lester and Lord Ouseley viewing the Race Relations Act [Photo credit: © UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor]

TODAY MARKS the 50th anniversary of the Race Relations Act, one of the prime pieces of legislation of the post-war period.

It was drafted in response to the open hostility and discrimination shown towards black and Asian immigrants who had come to Britain to work.

The act outlawed discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origin.

Key figures in the instigation of the 1965 Race Relations Act, as well as those involved in the ongoing fight for equalities have been pictured (above) in the House of Lords, along with the original version of the Act itself.

As part of Parliament’s commemorations for the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Race Relations Act, the original Act will be on display in the House of Lords until 31 January 2016.

Visitors to the Houses of Parliament will be able to view it as part of the tour route.


HISTORIC: The original Act [Photo credit: © UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor]

Back in the summer, Britain’s leading independent think tank on race, The Runnymede Trust held an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Race Relations Act.

The one-day event, Equal rights for all? The Magna Carta & the first Race Relations Act, was held in Kings Cross and featured a number of high-profile speakers.

Well at the conference, The Voice asked visitors: What has the Race Relations Act achieved 50 years on?

“I don’t think the Race Relations Act has the same weight and the reason I say that is because if you ask young people now, a lot of them wouldn’t be able to tell you what their rights are, how it affects them and could help them," said Ayo Sanusi, 22, Tottenham, equality and diversity consultant.

She continued: "When it came out, it held a symbolic reverence that everyone knew and wanted to protect. Now I think people are getting complacent and apathetic but I think now more than ever we need to reflect on the work that needs to be done and resurface as a politicised people.”

Kwesi, a community worker, added: “Unless we look at the Race Relations Act as something that was only meant to be a fig leaf for the injustice we still face...if that was its purpose then it’s achieved that because it’s made us complacent.

"If we look at it as a genuine attempt to improve race relations in this country and to end racial inequality then it’s completely failed because here we are 50 years later facing the same problems.”

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