Dominique Walker with Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill
Presented by: Mark Power
Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Dominique Walker for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.
Each July during Graduation Week, the University's highest honour – an Honorary Fellowship – is bestowed on a select band of individuals, in recognition of their outstanding achievement in a given field or profession. These people both personify and inspire others to 'dream, plan, and achieve'.
We propose Dominique Walker in recognition of her work in celebrating and empowering community diversity across Merseyside and beyond.
Though still only in her 20s, Dominique is an exceptional young woman and outstanding role model. Wise beyond her years, her belief in humanity has been tested to the limits but thanks to her faith and strong family she has emerged as a beacon of hope, a champion of community relations, where harmony, respect and equality are not merely words but the guiding principles by which we should all live. Dominique grew up in Huyton in a loving and hard-working family.
Her life – and that of her family – was shattered in 2005 when her brother Anthony was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. The attack shocked the city and the nation with the pointless death of an exceptional young man who showed such promise for the future.
On sentencing Anthony's murderers Mr Justice Leveson, now Chancellor of this University, said: "This was a racist attack of a type poisonous to any civilised society. You took from Anthony Walker his most precious possession, that is to say his life and all it held for him. He was a young man of enormous promise, lost in a moment."
Determined to ensure that Anthony's life was not in vain, Dominique's experiences led her to do two things.
Along with other members of her family, notably her mother Gee, she founded the Anthony Walker Foundation and her experiences in the investigation and prosecution of her brother's murderers also led her to join Merseyside Police, where she now works as a police constable.
Dominique enrolled on a Media and Cultural Studies degree at LJMU, just two months after Anthony was murdered. It is testament to her indomitable spirit and intelligence that she not only persevered with her studies but graduated in 2008.
A year later she embarked on another degree at the University, a foundation degree in Policing Studies. Her final year project was entitled "An Ethnographic Study of Ways to Encourage Black People to Join Merseyside Police".
Her commitment to increasing diversity within the force continues today through her role as Vice-Chair of the Merseyside Black Police Association and as a lead trainer on the Phoenix Leadership Programme, the Merseyside Police recruitment programme, which is addressing under representation within the service.
Opportunities for promotion for ethnic minorities within the force are improving and Dominique is determined that skin colour will prove no barrier to meeting her ambition of becoming Britain's first black female chief constable.
As a founding member of the Anthony Walker Foundation and its first project manager, Dominique helped establish the charity as a driving force for change on Merseyside. The Foundation uses education, sport and arts events as a way of working with young people of all races to feel secure in their identity and empowered to welcome and celebrate diversity in their communities.
The Foundation also established a bursary to support students under-represented in higher education who are interested in law or criminal justice. Despite her busy job as a Constable, Dominique continues to play an influential role in the Foundation as a Trustee, particularly when it comes to planning the annual festival.
This year's event takes place on 16 August and is an opportunity for the whole community to come together, to demonstrate cohesion and harmony by taking part in the activities that Anthony loved: music, sport and the arts.
What makes Dominique so inspirational is that she is not deterred by the scale of the problem that needs to be addressed. She has had the courage to take action into her own hands and to try and make Merseyside better, more equal and more harmonious for everyone in the community, not only for her own family, her partner Elvin is here today with their 9 year old daughter Liana and their youngest daughter Yasmin who is a little too young to be present this afternoon.
Dominique currently works within the Belle Vale neighbourhood of Liverpool South as a neighbourhood constable. This critical frontline post places her at the heart of community engagement where she serves to detect and prevent crime and protect people.
Asked to comment on Dominique's Honorary Fellowship, Merseyside Police's Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy said: "Dominique is an excellent ambassador for policing, displaying a resilience and tenacity to achieve the best outcome for those she serves underpinned by a level of compassion and humility. Constable Walker is a visual role model to many and once known becomes inspirational. She epitomises the style and delivery of Merseyside Police and is a credit to the organisation, herself and her community."
Next year is the 10th anniversary of Anthony's murder. After Anthony's death, Gee Walker said that she didn't want another mother to go through what she experienced.
Her inspirational daughter is helping to ensure that lessons continue to be learnt and not forgotten and that Anthony's life was not in vain.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Dominique Walker, this most distinguished citizen of Liverpool, for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.