The struggle against racism was marked by the writer Bonnie Greer, John Battle MP, Anglican priest Rose Hudson-Wilkin and Dr Usama Hasan at celebrations yesterday to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ).
The theme for the gathering at Westminster Cathedral Hall was the 'Changing Face of Britain'. Catholic parish groups, religious communities, other Christian denominations and faith communities, schools, civil society organisations, local and central government representatives and politicians all took part.
As well as celebrating the work of CARJ, the overall aim was to explore how ordinary people, including people of faith, can challenge racism within a diverse society.
Kieran Conry, the Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, commented: "Racism violates the dignity of the individual and the oneness of the human family. As Christians we have a duty to work towards its eradication."
He continued: "For the past 25 years the Catholic Association for Racial Justice has sought to tackle racism and racial discrimination by addressing the needs of minority ethnic and marginalised communities.
"During the course of its Silver Jubilee, CARJ has been focusing on the present and future challenges we face as well as celebrating the ever increasing diversity of our Church and our society. We must take this opportunity to affirm with one voice our ongoing commitment to end racism."
Margaret-Ann Fisken, chair of CARJ, added: "From its inception 25 years ago, CARJ has had a vision of a Church and a society committed to racial justice. Over the years we have been blessed with individuals, schools, groups, parishes and dioceses who have worked tirelessly alongside us to identify and eliminate racism, discrimination and xenophobia. We intend our national event on 7 November to be used as an opportunity to reflect on our achievements and redouble our efforts in our ongoing racial justice work."