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David Lammy on Fatherhood

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Higher education minister David Lammy MP spoke about black fatherhood to a packed Committee Room in the House of Commons as part of the Runnymede Platform series.

The event, held on the Monday after Mothers' Day, also served as the launch for a 5-minute video (below) about fatherhood made by Lammy and Femi Oyeniran, star of the films Kidulthood and Adulthood.

Chaired by journalist Lawrence Lartey, the discussion panel included actor Femi Oyeniran, rapper Tinie Tempah, actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah and Dr Tracey Reynolds of London South Bank University.

In his speech, Lammy called for a more active form of fatherhood in the black community, and argued that a renewed focus on fathers would help tackle some of the challenges facing young black people such as educational under-achievement, disproportionate exclusion levels and high crime rates.

He also called for fathers from all backgrounds to remain in touch with their children whatever the relationship with their mothers. He said: ‘Between a quarter and a third of children with separated parents have little to no contact with their fathers. It is not just the structure of families that matters. It is whether fathers continue to contribute to their children’s lives.’

Read the speech in full

...or listen to it below:

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Part One (6 mins)

Part Two (7 mins)

Part Three  (7 mins 30 sec)

Part Four (8 mins)

The Independent, BBC Online, the Evening Standard, Colourful Radio and Operation Black Vote all provided coverage of the event, and David Lammy also appeared on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.

Dr Tony Sewell, who recently contributed to our econference on school exclusions, has also written a piece on black boys' experience of family for the Guardian's Comment is free pages.

You can find out more about the event on David Lammy's website.

Links to other organisations and programmes that you may find useful, many of whom were represented at the Runnymede Platform event, are included below.