In 1962, Paul arrived in Bristol and made history as the city’s first Black Social Worker. Recognising the need to combat racism, he founded the West Indian Development Council, a group dedicated to campaigning against racial discrimination in Bristol. This initiative emerged in response to the ban on employing Black people on the Bristol buses. The Council’s campaign brought attention to the prevalent racism in the city.
Remarkably, within just six months, their relentless efforts paid off, and the Bristol campaign achieved success as the ban on employing Black people was lifted.
Paul Stephenson did not stop his fight against racism and continued to take a stand against discrimination in various forms. In 1964, he bravely refused to leave a pub that refused to serve Black people. His refusal resulted in his arrest, but the magistrate recognized the inherent racism in the decision and consequently, the pub manager lost his job.
Paul Stephenson and Batook Pandya are celebrated as ‘the People’s Heroes in Bristol and the South West.’
In recognition of their outstanding contributions and impact on the community, they were both inducted into the MTM Awards Hall of Fame during the MTM Awards 10th Anniversary Glittering Gala Award Evening.
To honour their legacies and achievements, MTM Awards introduced awards named after these two influential figures. The MTM Batook Pandya Lifetime Achievement Award was named after the late Batook Pandya MBE in 2014, while the MTM Unsung Hero Award was named after Dr. Paul Stephenson OBE in 2016.
Their enduring commitment to fighting racism and promoting equality continues to inspire and uplift the community, leaving a lasting impact on Bristol and beyond.
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