Vicki Burns Campaign Manager of Show Racism the Red Card - ScotlandUnity is strength: show racism the red card
The impact of austerity is felt all too painfully by our BME communities who are amongst the most marginalised. However, the current state of the economy is negatively impacting a large cross section of society, job losses and cuts in benefits are painfully felt by young and old. Those living in poverty, dealing with unemployment or disability and single parenthood are left feeling invisible and as second class citizens fighting insurmountable barriers to achieve inclusion and full participation within their communities.
This creates a fertile breeding ground for the scapegoating and blame that lay the foundations for racism where it is often easier to place blame at the door of migrants and those seeking refuge from persecution and war rather than challenging government policy that has led us to this moment.
Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) has always worked proactively with our union supporters and has now been delivering anti-racism education in England for 17 years, in Scotland for 10 years and in Wales for 7 years. From the very beginnings of the campaign in 1996 the organisation has successfully worked in partnership with Trade Unions. We are grateful and enthused by the consistent way that Trade Unions have supported our work.
In England, at the end of October, SRtRC and Unionlearn signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) which commits both parties to working together to combat racism through learning.
The MoU was signed before the start of the annual Unionlearn conference, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said, “Professional footballers too often face horrific and very public racial abuse, as we saw in a Champions League match in Moscow only last month. Show Racism the Red Card has also shown that footballers can use their profile to be effective anti-racism ambassadors, particularly when speaking to young people. By working closely with Show Racism the Red Card, we can educate people and set about eradicating racism school-by-school, college-by-college and, through our network of 30,000 learning reps in workplaces across the UK”.
In Scotland, SRtRC has now completed one of the busiest and most high profile months, our Fortnight of Action (FoA) during 15th – 29th October has seen professional football clubs demonstrate their support for the campaign at League fixtures. Through on-going union support, a series of small grants were made available for community groups to develop local anti-racist learning activities. These activities took place in areas such as Falkirk, Glenrothes, Pilton and East Kilbride. The FoA was launched on 10th October at K Park run by East Kilbride Community Trust, with a special match between ex-professional footballers and representatives of community organisations, the match was preceded by educational workshops with young people from local primary schools who then had a chance to watch the match and meet the players.
Dee Matthew, Education Coordinator at Show Racism the Red Card Scotland will be speaking at the STUC’s annual St Andrew’s Day March and Rally against Racism and Fascism on Saturday 30th November in Glasgow.
Dee says, “Show Racism the Red Card in Scotland has worked with 13,000 people in the last year educating against the dangers of racism and religious bigotry. What is striking is that our young people by the age of 12 years old are exposed to damaging and divisive reporting in the media. Our experience within classrooms up and down Scotland is that this exposure to inaccurate reporting, for example on UK immigration, is leading our children to reply ‘Illegal’ when asked about the terms Asylum Seeker or Immigrant. External sources of information, myths and dangerous stereotypes impact on young people’s world view and influence their understanding before they have a chance to gather information for themselves and think critically. There has never been a more important time to be delivering education that provides an alternative and truthful world view to take away the burden of prejudice. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our trade union partners to achieve this”.
Show Racism the Red Card fully supports the STUC’s St Andrews Day March and Rally against Racism and Fascism, we will continue to work with the trade union movement to send out a clear message that racism cannot and will not be tolerated in any part of our multi-cultural and diverse society.