LORD SIMON WOOLLEY, BARON OF WOODFORD
Simon Andrew Woolley, Baron Woolley of Woodford, is a political and equalities activist. He is the founder and director of Operation Black Vote and Trustee of the charity Police Now. Woolley has been a crossbench member of the House of Lords since October 2019. He was Chair of the Government of the United Kingdom Race Disparity Unit Advisory Group until July 2020. In March 2021, his appointment as Principal of Homerton College, Cambridge, was announced
Woolley left school without A-Levels and started his working life in an apprenticeship as a car mechanic. He moved to London at the age of nineteen and spent four years in advertising for The Rank Organisation in Wardour Street, before deciding to study Spanish and Politics at Middlesex University. During his studies, Woolley spent time in Costa Rica and Colombia,[he went on to earn a Master of Arts in Hispanic literature at the Queen Mary University of London.
Woolley served as a Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and released Woolley's report How to achieve better BME political representation. He was appointed to the Equalities Commission in 2009. He has launched two governmental investigations, including REACH, which looked to tackle the alienation of black youth, as well as working with Harriet Harman on the political representation of black and minority ethnic women. He worked with Bernie Grant, Al Sharpton, Naomi Campbell and Jesse Jackson on grassroots campaigns highlighting racial discrimination.
THE IMPACT OF THE BLACK VOTE AND INSTITUTIONALISED RACISM
As a political and equalities activist Lord Simon Woolley has become the first black man to be elected head of an Oxbridge college.
Listen to Lord Woolley's intimate podcast conversation about his early adopted life, working as a car mechanic, the creation of Operation Black Vote, the step into the political sphere and the defunct report in Race Disparity in the UK by Dr Tony Sewell CBE.