Around this time last year, a group of then Fifth Formers recognised a flaw in society and decided to take action to help dispel misunderstandings, bias and stereotypes of marginalised groups. Maxwell Martin, Sami Haroon, David Adeyemi-Abere and Dylan Swain set up a representation society, named after, and with the blessing of, the first black Head of School here in 1983, Greg Eckersley (78-83) the aim of the society being to provide a voice for all minorities (not just ethnic).

Read ‘A Voice for All Minorities’ (published November 2020)

Speaking just after the creation of the new society, the boys explained, “Our intention is to show how prejudices are oftentimes rooted in ignorance; education is, we feel, the key to progress. We see this academic society as a step in the right direction to addressing such conflicts. The Eckersley Society is a safe place for members of the Bedford School community to present on their differences. We wanted to create a platform to host discourse and academic conversation on all issues represented within our school community.”

Since then, the Eckersley Society has held several talks including ‘How do we talk about race?’ by Dr Johnson, Assistant Professor in Human Resource Management at Coventry University, ‘Black men’s health: why there is a problem and how do we fix it?’ by a fellow Sixth Former.

In association with the school’s film club, they screened Rabbit-Proof Fence, a hard-hitting Australian drama about three mixed-parentage girls taken from their mother by the Government and sent to a training camp for domestic workers. They also joined with the Philosophy and Theology Society for a talk on ‘Religion, Race, and Colonialism’ following a screening of The Mission and an assembly from our Chaplain on ‘Race and Images of Jesus’.

The boys are currently working with the school’s drama department to create an interview film featuring BAME Old Bedfordians.

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