Chair, I am deeply honoured to have been asked to deliver this, the second Anthony Walker Lecture.
Let me first of all pay tribute to two people. The first is Mrs Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother, who delivered the inaugural lecture last October and is with us here today. Gee Walker is by any measure a formidable and extraordinary woman, formidable in her strength and her capacity to sow peace and not let herself or her family be destroyed by a corrosive anger and rage at the senseless murder of Anthony. Extraordinary because she was and still insists on remaining an ordinary mother, living her values and doing the best by her children. If Hazel Blears and her REACH committee really want to hold up role models for black young men or anybody else to emulate, they should acknowledge and pay due respect to the Gee Walkers of this land and the hundreds of thousands more like her that lead and steer holistic families of sons, daughters, uncles, nephews and grandparents.
The second person to whom I wish to pay the warmest of tributes is my late friend and comrade, Steve Sinnott, General Secretary of this great Union until his untimely death in April this year. Steve it was whose inspiration gave rise to the establishment of this lecture. He wanted the National Union of Teachers to honour Anthony and his memory by erecting this dynamic monument. He wanted the Union on its own behalf and on behalf of teachers and professional educators everywhere to honour the Walker family and to rise to their heartfelt plea, a plea made by Gee Walker at the end of her lecture last year:
Help me to make this world a safer place for Anthony’s niece and nephew and for all children to live and work, to live the dream of that great man, Dr Martin Luther King. Read the rest of this entry →