Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s (MFRS) Race Equality and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Network held its first ever major event, Diaspora, yesterday at the Black-E in Liverpool City Centre.
Diaspora, an equality, diversity and inclusion event, was headlined by three keynote speakers, Wayne Brown, Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service and the UK’s first and only Black fire chief; Levi Tafari, poet, storyteller and recipient of City of Liverpool’s Citizen of Honour award; and Anthony Walker Foundation Chief Operating Officer John Williams QPM.
Another highlight of the event was the Q&A panel, hosted by MFRS Watch Manager and REACH Vice Chair John Maddox. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions of and hear insights from Merseyside Police Chief Inspector Rob Budden, Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre CEO Michelle Charters, Maleka Egeonu-Roby from Liverpool City Combined Authority, MFRS Head of Culture and Transformation Mo Jogi and Sheetal Panchmatia of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).
MFRS Station Manager and Chair of REACH Network Chris Man said: "Diaspora represents a landmark event for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. Today people across the country and different sectors, gathered under one roof to unite as a community in the name of celebrating cultural diversity, learning and raising awareness.
"Our Service is made up of truly amazing and talented people from diverse backgrounds. The importance of diversity and representation within an organisation must not be underestimated. We must nurture our talent, create opportunities for growth and allow diversity a seat at the top table. It is vital that we harness the opportunity to learn from each other, share lived experiences and grow as a team and community."
The MFRS REACH Network would also like to acknowledge and give thanks to the venue, the Black-E, caterers Adeola Foods who provided our guests with a delicious Caribbean lunch, and performers Pagoda Arts.