On Wednesday 1st August 2018, the Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) staff team and the management committee met up at the UNISON headquarters in Newcastle for the annual meeting. Each year the teams from England, Wales, Scotland and the management committee come together to reflect on the previous year, plan for the next twelve months and take part in professional development.
After a quick video message from Show Racism the Red Card Honorary President, Shaka Hislop, it was time to meet the first guest speaker of the day. Starting the day off was, Ivan Humble, who is a former English Defence League (EDL) member and regional organiser. Ivan, spoke very honestly about his previous involvement with the EDL, how he became attached to the group and how he found a way out. Ivan’s presentation was extremely powerful, and it subsequently triggered further questions from the SRtRC staff who were present on the day.
Next on the agenda was the viewing of the new Show Racism the Red Card educational film. Over the previous twelve months, Show Racism the Red Card have been developing the new, and updated, version of the educational film which will be used throughout schools and football clubs in the upcoming academic year and beyond. The film which features young people, adults and professional footballers sharing their experiences of racism is due to be launched in October 2018 in Parliament.
After lunch, Professor Colin Clark from the University of West Scotland, attended the meeting to talk to the group and facilitate discussions about the racism faced in the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community. By having Professor Colin Clark in attendance, it allowed the SRtRC staff to utilise his expertise and ask further questions about the GRT community.
Following on from Colin was Ged Grebby, Show Racism the Red Card Chief Executive, who highlighted the success of the organisation over the last twelve months, set out the organisations priorities for the coming year and thanked his staff and management committee for their hard work. Christine Blower (Show Racism the Red Card Vice President), Clare Williams (UNISON Regional Secretary) and Roger McKenzie (Assistant General Secretary of UNISON) spoke about the role of Trade Unions in fighting racism and how they currently, and how they will continue, to support Show Racism the Red Card. The day finished with a presentation from Show Racism the Red Card fundraising officers, Sacha and Chris, who provided an update of their work around Wear Red Day 2018.
Show Racism the Red Card would like to thank Ivan and Colin for taking the time to address the SRtRC staff and engaging in thought-provoking conversation. SRtRC would also like to say a massive thank you to Christine, Roger and Clare for their continued support of organisation. And finally, a big thank you to all the staff and management committee who attended on the day and who continue to work tirelessly to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.
Helen Gray, Show Racism the Red Card Education Worker, said;
"The SRtRC Away Day was informative, thought provoking and interesting. It was an excellent opportunity to get to know and discuss and share new ideas and best practice with the other SRtRC teams and individuals. The two guest speakers on the day, Ivan Humble and Professor Colin Clark, spoke on issues relevant and at the forefront of our current work; Far Right in the UK and Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Racism respectively. Both of these sessions generated enthusiastic, lively and thought-provoking discussion that I am sure will shape and inform our future work."
Christine Blower, Show Racism the Red Card Vice President, said;
“I am proud to be vice president of this organisation. Show Racism the Red Card has an excellent reputation in the Trade Union movement for the quality of the work you do. There is a glaring gap in the training of teachers around anti-racism and indeed equality and SRtRC will be lobbying to have this redressed. If teachers are to help combat racism in society they need training and this organisation has the track record, resources and staff to do this.”
Clare Williams, UNISON Regional Secretary, said;
“Northern UNISON has developed a long-term relationship with SRtRC and we are building the confidence of our activist to challenge racism. We are now entering year 3 of our Ambassadors programme with SRtRC and I am sure this will be as popular at the other 2 with our members. The work you do is absolutely fantastic, thanks to all your staff and volunteers.”
Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary of UNISON, said;
“UNISON is totally committed to the work that SRtRC do. We need to have 'difficult conversations' to challenge racism and your organisation is best placed to have these and help us embed anti-racism into our education programme. Thank you for inviting me to speak and congratulations on all the work you all do to fight racism.”