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SRtRC Scotland visits UNISON Black Members Conference

On Friday 20th January, UNISON Black Members group kindly invited Show Racism the Red Card Scotland along to attend the Unison Black Members Conference in Edinburgh.This was the first time the event has been held in person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and it offered us an opportunity to meet and talk to committed union members and activists from across the UK.

The Black members group in UNISON represents Black members, many of whom face the same challenges as some of the wider membership, but whose problems can be compounded by racist discrimination in the workplace. Many of the members in this group are directly involved with promoting equality within their workplaces, using equality legislation to challenge employers to treat their staff equally and with dignity.

In her speech to conference, UNISON General Secretary, Christina McAnea, announced that 2023 would be UNISON’s year of the Black Worker, whilst also alluding to the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on Black workers. Many Black workers continued to deliver frontline services throughout the pandemic, often while exposed to heightened risk. The past few years have highlighted how underprepared and under-resourced many of Britain’s public services are, and unfortunately it has been many of UNISON’s Black members who have had to bear the brunt of the consequences.

For SRtRC, it was an opportunity to engage with Black members from a range of sectors including those working in healthcare, education  and many other public services. Whilst many had heard of our anti-racism work, others were finding out about the campaign for the first time. Overwhelmingly, there was a positive reaction to our work with many members heading away with our Creative Competition 2023 calendars, promising to get the young people in their lives involved in this year’s competition. We were proud to share the news that we are fast approaching our major milestone of delivering training to one million people and left the conference with a mood of optimism and enthusiasm having had the chance to have so many meaningful conversations with so many committed anti-racists. With almost everyone we spoke to, there was a shared understanding of the importance of teaching young people about racism early and ensuring they not only have the tools to understand and recognise racism but also to be able to challenge it.

SRtRC Scotland would like to once again extend our thanks to the organisers for inviting us along to the conference and to all those that came over to our stall to have a chat. Thank you for all the support!

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