Show Racism the Red Card Wales proudly welcomed 25 Leaders of Now from four of our five ambassador schools, alongside esteemed guests such as North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin and representatives from the Children’s commissioner for Wales’ office and Denbighshire and Conwy Councils, amongst others, at a fantastic share and celebrate event in St George’s Hotel, Llandudno.
The Leaders of Now project, funded by your 2022 Wear Red Day donations, saw 5 schools from across North Wales select ambassadors to lead the cultural shift towards anti-racism in their own schools.
In September 2022, four of the ambassador schools – Elfed High School, Rhyl High School, Prestatyn High School and Ysgol Eirias came together for a day of anti-racism education and were tasked with setting up anti-racism groups in their schools and undertaking some factfinding exercises. Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern were invited to join the project later in the year.
Throughout the year, SRtRC has held regular check in meetings with our Leaders of Now as they embarked on this pupil-led project, striking off in different directions to meet the needs of their schools. The celebration event, held earlier this week was a chance for these ambassadors to share their work so far.
After a brief introduction and welcome by Campaign Manager for Wales, Dean Pymble, and North Wales Education Worker, April Herzog, Prestatyn High School shared their work so far. The Leaders of Now at Prestatyn were building upon work previously started by a small group of pupils the previous year to which the school had already positively responded with curriculum and policy change. This year, the ambassadors’ work has included: taking a clear anti-discrimination stance across the school and publicising this; taking part in Wear Red Day; and running awareness-raising competitions. Llongyfarchiadau Prestatyn!
Next up was Ysgol Eirias. Eirias’ Leaders of Now focused on pupil voice and awareness raising. They spoke about running events such as an internal SRtRC-style Creative Competition; embedding anti-racism champions in their pupil voice structure; undertaking a whole school survey to identify gaps in understanding or misconceptions and leading educational assemblies. The buy in from across the whole school was fantastic to see!
Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern, the school that had most recently joined the project, followed. They talked about holding regular meetings to understand how racism manifests in school and plan actions to counter it; the research that they had undertaken with around 50% of pupils; how they had carried out a school display audit; showed an educational bilingual video on hate crime that pupils had written and commissioned and gave a clear plan of action for work moving forward. The passion and commitment was clear!
Next up, guests were treated to tea and cake. After all, ‘a celebration without cake is just a meeting’. Accompanying this was a highly personal, emotive and empowering video message from Miss Wales 2023 finalist, Mohima Hasna Hussain. Mohima talked about the impact of internalised racism, overcoming this and shared words of encouragement for the Leaders of Now going forward.
Sadly representatives from Elfed High School were unable to attend but their successes were shared by the SRtRC team. These included included abundant enthusiasm from pupils throughout the school keen to become anti-racism ambassadors, utilising SRtRC’s World Cup Education Pack to raise awareness throughout the school, and looking at ways to secure and develop the group moving forward.
The final school to present was Rhyl High School. Rhyl’s Leaders of Now shared how their group interact with the rest of the student body, including regular weekly form time visits, leading workshops for pupils on terminology, successful interventions and presenting to governors and staffs on ways of moving forward with the school’s anti-racism journey.
Following this, Sabia Azad, Participation Officer for the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ office, summarised the collective thoughts of everyone in the room, showing her awe at the hard work of all the Leaders of Now and their educators/school supports.
This was echoed in the closing remarks of Dean Pymble who commented ‘that the young people have done a fantastic job working on this project both with April and Kate but also through the independent work they’ve completed in-between the sessions with teachers and other young people across their schools.
He went on to say ‘I’m confident these young people will change the world and will push us to places we could have only dreamt of in terms of racial equity in both education and society.
You’ve been our first ever cohort through the ‘Leaders of Now’ project and the work you’ve completed and will continue to complete will create positive change in your schools.’
From all Leaders of Now, there was a real sense that they were ready to get comfortable with being uncomfortable – recognising racism, being confident enough to challenge and change it – as well as a sense that though they received their certificates, this project was far from finished. After all, we are each on our own ongoing anti-racism journey and we cannot wait to see how, both individually and collectively, our ambassadors continue theirs…