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Black History Month: continuing the conversation

Posted: 28/10/2021

Black History Month, in the UK, was created to recognise, and celebrate, the past and present contributions that Black British figures have made to UK society. Events over the last 18 months have provided a stark reminder of the importance of our commitment to inclusion, the actions we take to support it, and how crucial it is that we listen, learn and educate ourselves on the lived experiences of the Black community. We are committed to equality and ensuring that our firm is a place where people of all ethnicities, races, and cultures feel welcome, supported and respected. 

How did we celebrate Black History Month 2021?

Our race and faith committee undertook a series of initiatives to promote awareness of Black British history across the firm:

  • We are a proud sponsor, via our charitable foundation, of the book ‘Voices in the Shadow’, which was launched by Tech London Advocate’s Black Women in Tech. The book showcases the journey of Black women in the UK who have had an impact on the tech industry, and by doing so, aims to empower young Black girls to flourish professionally.
  • Associate Renée Wright hosted an event with the Association of Women Solicitors ‘The death penalty – we have a dream’. The event covered the right to a fair trial, vulnerable groups, and discussed examples of recent and live cases. Renée also gave a personal account of her experience of working on death row cases in Mississippi, the founding state of the civil rights movement.
  • We celebrated inspirational Black British figures including Jawahir Roble, Marcus Rashford and Michaela Cola and held a social learning session highlighting how we can support Black history beyond Black History Month. The panel discussed how we can acknowledge historical inequalities and ensure diversity, equity and inclusion become the new normal.

Our ongoing commitment to race and ethnicity inclusion

  • We’ve invited Adrienne Everett, a contributor to the book ‘Voices in the Shadow’ ,to take part in in a fireside chat and share her extensive experience in supporting organisations with diversity and inclusion. Adrienne will be joining our Diversity and CSR Manager, Ayesha Burnett, to discuss the importance of role models, challenging negative stereotypes and building a more inclusive culture.
  • As a signatory to the Race Fairness Commitment , we have pledged to regularly review our targets and drive forward our action plan to address barriers to attraction, retention, progression, and inclusion.
  • We are a member of Legal CORE (legal collaboration on race and ethnicity), a cross firm collaboration designed to substantively increase the representation of Black, Asian and ethnic minority individuals across the legal sector. Legal CORE is an action-led group of firms who have all signed the Race Fairness Commitment. As an early adopter of the mission, we pledge to contribute to a fundamental shift across the legal sector and to champion, and promote, ethnically diverse talent.
  • Next year we will be launching our brand-new programme, Empower. It will be open to all first-year law students and penultimate year non-law students from a Black heritage or ethnic minority background. Further information can be found here.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP