'The Baggies' host West Midlands training conference with Show Racism the Red Card.
A programme of training for individuals working with young people continued with the West Midlands conference; hosted by West Bromwich Albion F.C and sponsored by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.
More than 50 teachers and trainee teachers joined members of the police, local authority representatives’ community workers for a day of eye-opening lectures and thought-provoking workshops which explored the activities of Far Right groups including the English Defence League (EDL) and examined that issues can leave young people vulnerable to recruitment by such organisations.
The conference was opened by Cllr. Peter Lowe of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, who gave a rousing and passionate speech about his experiences of racism and integration within the borough, both personally and professionally.
Delegates were given a keynote speech by EDL expert Dr Paul Jackson, Senior Lecturer in History at Northampton University who provided an overview of the growth of the EDL and an introduction to their recruitment tactics including the use of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. In particular, Dr Jackson spoke about the common push factors that motivate young people to join groups like the EDL; including economic circumstance and a lack of well developed social skills.
This keynote speech was complemented by a series of workshops including Educating Against Racism and Prejudice and Escalation of Racism: Ideas for Intervention; where delegates were invited to share their own experiences of racism among young people and were challenged to identify their own prejudices and analyse their current practices.
Attendees at the training event were taken through a range of practical activities designed to help promote safe discussion among young people and challenge racist attitudes and prejudices. They also explored a case study; looking at ideas for intervention to prevent a young person joining the EDL and carrying out a racist attack.
The training event was bought to a close with an inspirational testimony from ex-professional footballer and anti-racism education worker Osei Sankofa, who described in detail the journey of his parents who settled in this country having left Jamaica and his own experiences of racism in both football and society.
Show Racism the Red Card would like to say a massive thank you to West Bromwich Albion F.C for hosting a fantastic event, and to event sponsors the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and to the National Union of Teachers (NUT). A big thank you also goes out to Cllr. Peter Lowe for his enthusiastic and moving opening address.