Voice4Change hold EU Race Debate in Bristol

Voice4Change organized a fiery EU referendum debate in Bristol on the 26th of May, focussing specifically on the racial implications of a Brexit vote. Working in partnership with Operation Black Vote and the Black South West Network, we organized this event to get as many people to register to vote as possible before the June 7th deadline.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees introduced the event in front of a packed audience, and to thousands of listeners who tuned in on Ujima Radio.

Marvin Rees speaking before the event


After speeches from local councillor Hibaq Jama and Steve Woolley from Operation Black Vote, it was time to get the debate underway.

There were five panellists taking part in the debate: three speaking for the Remain side and two for Brexit.


Team Remain:

Former race advisor to Ken Livingstone, Lee Jasper

Stronger In activist and 2015 Parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, Amina Lone

Former Green party councillor for Bristol, Anna McMullen


Team Brexit:

Voice4Change England director, Kunle Olulode

Campaign for an Independent Britain Author, John Petley



Well known Bristol broadcaster, Patrick Hart


The panellists prepare to speak


The debate started with some opening comments from each the panellists, starting with Kunle and John. It was clear early on that the audience were overwhelmingly in favour of an In Vote, and Lee Jasper especially received a tidal wave of cheers throughout his speech.

Members of the audience were encouraged to wave Green Cards when they agreed with what was being said and Red Cards when they disagreed. This again showed that the Remain speakers were receiving much more love from the crowd.


Lee Jasper makes his case for a Remain Vote


Kunle Olulode (speaking for himself rather than Voice4Change) made a different argument to his co-Brexiter John Petley, arguing that we are better off out of the EU because it is an unaccountable organisation which it is too late to reform. Unlike John he argued that free movement of labour remains an important principle whether we are in the EU or not.

Kunle Olulode arguing for Brexit


All of the questions were centred on the racial aspect of the EU debate, and panellists were asked how the EU has helped or hurt various aspects of racial equality. Many audience members also contributed to the debate, giving the panellists their thoughts on what they’d heard so far.

Most importantly, it was a very well attended debate, with a lot of enthusiasm for democracy in the room.

We hope it will help to generate some energy into the EU debate in Bristol, and ensure a high turnout on the 23rd of June.

Audience members contribute to the EU Race Debate in Bristol