Footballer and comedian star at diversity event

23 May 2022

Business leaders, movers and shakers from across Birmingham enjoyed delicious food and thought-provoking conversations at an equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) event in Birmingham.

The event, organised by Westside BID and embraceEDI, featured guest speakers including French international footballer and author Lilian Thuram and Ola Labib – the UK’s only Muslim, black, Sudanese comedian.

Ola talked about her experience of racism in the entertainment industry and Lilian Thuram discussed people’s different perspectives of racism and the need for witnesses to abandon their neutrality and challenge prejudice when they see it.

The lunch, at Piccolino in BrindleyPlace, also featured a speech by Westside BID chairman Gerald Manton, who told how EDI initiatives had had a positive effect on his construction business.

Julie Tippins, the diversity lead for DHP Family pub group, highlighted the current lack of diversity and inclusivity in the hospitality industry and how this could be overcome.

Graham Whittaker, a director at Walsall Football Club, discussed racism in football, and the actions that Walsall was taking now – and planning for the future – to stamp it out.

Mike Olley, general manager at Westside BID, said: “The event went amazingly well thanks to the diversity of the speakers we had, the issues that they’ve encountered and the way they got that across to the receptive audience.”

Pictured (l-r): Cllr Robert Alden, Lilian Thuram and Cllr Ewan Mackey

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