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Spotlight: USDAW ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ programme



Show Racism the Red Card were delighted to be able to spend the afternoon with USDAW as part of their ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ Black Members Development Programme.

The programme looks at ways to address underrepresentation in Union roles, providing Black members with a programme of activity to enhance their skills, knowledge and understanding of the USDAW and wider trade union movement

The aim of the SRtRC session was not just empowering individuals with lived experience of racism to cope with and challenge racism in their own lives, but to provide discussion and tools in order to enable the participants to be role models within their own organisations. The delegates were keen in exploring ways to encourage and support those from their community coming through the workplace – ‘dropping the ladder’ so to speak – in order to use their own experience and knowledge of prejudice to support, encourage, and empower others on their own organisational journeys and challenges.

The afternoon began with an anti racism session looking at inclusive practice and leadership. We examined the barriers in society and the workplace for those from Diverse Ethnic backgrounds, and the ways in which to highlight and constructively challenge discriminatory behaviour whilst remaining emotionally protected.

We were then joined by a virtual online panel chaired by SRtRC Director of Operations Paul Kearns, and featuring Shaka Hislop (ex Newcastle United FC), Luther Burrell (ex Newcastle Falcons) from the sporting world, and Simone Doyle SRtRC Director or HR & Support Services, from an HR managerial perspective, to share their personal encounters.

The panel recounted the sometimes difficult challenges, experiences and strategies that they have used whilst facing racism in their professional lives before opening it up for an extended Q & A with the delegates.

The day finished off with a final workshop utilising the earlier session and the valuable insight given during the panel, to look at how delegates could be most effective allies to others facing discrimination.

Allyship was explored not just from a race equality perspective, but for any individual or marginalised group that may face discrimination in society, in order to redress social imbalances for all.

Much lively, frank and thoughtful conversation throughout the day made this a tremendously enjoyable session, and we would like to offer our thanks to our partners USDAW, the delegates, organisers and panel for their humour, honesty and engagement in making the afternoon an inspiring one for all.

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