Unite The Union Conference Summary

UNITE THE UNION CONFERENCE, BRIGHTON

 

On Monday 24th June 2019 Show Racism the Red Card took part in a fringe meeting hosted by Howard Beckett, Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union.

 

The meeting was kindly sponsored by Thompson's Law and attended by 120 delegates, a great turnout especially after a full day's conference. Earlier that afternoon all of the delegates, many wearing SRtRC t-shirts, posed for a photo with Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey to promote Wear Red Day.

 

SRtRC Southern Regional Manager Steve Goodsell gave a short presentation on the education work being delivered in London and the South. Steve spoke about the responsibilities of Politicians in regard to the language they use and the views they publicly espouse to describe people, as these filter down into the classrooms and playgrounds of our young people. At a recent SRtRC workshop Steve attended, some young people viewing a photograph of Woman wearing a Burqa commented that she 'looked like a letter box', which they admitted repeating after hearing a media story about a prominent Government MP's disgraceful comments.

 

Delegates watched a short film called 'Hannah's Story' which features a teenage girl who suffered racism at school which affected her confidence and mental well-being. Hannah talks about what happened following a visit to her school by the SRtRC Wales Education Team, how it made those who were being racist realise that what they were doing, was not only hurtful but against the law. Hannah is happy at school now and some of the people who were making racist comments previously are now her friends. You can watch the full version of the film at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9j8yQk83tY

 

Howard Beckett talked about the great working relationship between Unite the Union and SRtRC and how much Unite value the contribution that SRtRC make to society with their education work in schools. He also urged members to support Wear Red Day in Scotland on the 4th October and the 18th October in England and Wales.

 

Susan Matthews (NEC) spoke about 'The systematic racism within employment practices' and gave examples of other forms of racism that many people may be unaware of, such as Environmental Racism. Susan described how some London Boroughs are creating play areas on estates that are only accessible by children of parents who pay rent, as opposed to those that live in council properties. This almost always unfairly penalises Black and Minority Ethnic families, which is happening more and more according to Susan.

 

Stephen Cavalier of Thompsons Law spoke about the great work of SRtRC in schools and how vital it was that funding is found to not just maintain the current level of delivery but to be able to reach out to thousands more young people across the UK. Stephen added how good it was to see top footballers speak out against racism in the game and in society, and the importance of supporting them. He said it was shocking that Danny Rose of Spurs and England should feel that he looks forward to not playing football because racism is such an everyday occurrence now.

 

Terry Angus and Simone Pound of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) both spoke in support of the work of SRtRC in schools, but also about the fantastic partnership that exists between the PFA and SRtRC. The football club events held each season are held in high esteem by the PFA, and the clubs themselves. The Community Departments at the football clubs contribute a great deal to the success of the club education programme, with hundreds of players getting a chance to contribute to the events and interact with young people from local schools. Many players continue to make a contribution to SRtRC by way of speaking at events and being trained to deliver educational workshops, two of whom have been honoured for their achievements - Leroy Rosenior and John Beresford, both proud holders of the MBE.

 

The fringe meeting closed with a photo taken of delegates holding up cards in support of Wear Red Day 2019. Our thanks to all at Unite the Union, Thompsons Law and the PFA for their fabulous support helping to Show Racism the Red Card.

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