Unite has urged everyone to take part on Friday (October 18) in Wear Red Day – the educational charity Show Racism the Red Card’s (SRtRC) national day of action.
The charity is calling on all of its supporters to wear red on Friday (October 18) and donate £1 to the organisation to support its anti-racism educational training in schools and workplaces across the UK.
SRtRC was formed in 1996 to use footballing role models to enlist young people in anti-racism drives. Previous stars on the SRtRC team sheet include Thierry Henry, Ryan Giggs and Samuel Eto’o.
The charity goes out into communities, classrooms and football clubs and educates roughly 50,000 schoolchildren each year in England, Wales and Scotland about racism.
This year’s Wear Red Day is expected to be the charity’s biggest ever — seven hundred schools across England have signed up to support Wear Red Day, along with trade unions and 175 businesses, including Heathrow Airport, Barclays and selected Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores across the country.
This is the fifth year Wear Red Day has taken place and the event has grown in popularity each year. The charity hopes to raise £100,000 this year.
SRtRC chief executive Ged Grebby said the charity is “delighted to see so many people pledging to stand together against racism”.
“The support for this day is growing every year and that’s very encouraging but we know it’s still so important that we continue to challenge racism and educate people about the impact it has,” he noted. “Every pound raised on Wear Red Day will help us reach more young people and adults with our anti-racism education.”
Unity Over Division
Unite West Midlands and South East regions’ Wear Red Day celebrations will be timed to coincide with Unity Over Division conferences in both regions.
The conferences will discuss ways to challenge the growing far right narrative of hate and division in our society.
Unity Over Division is a campaign launched by Unite in response to the rise of the far right in the UK, across Europe and in many parts of the world. It is aimed at equipping working people with the skills and knowledge to challenge the arguments of the far right and the casual racism that is becoming more prevalent in our workplaces and communities.
In the West Midlands more than 200 Unite activists will gather at the West Bromwich Albion football for the region’s Unity Over Division conference on Wear Red Day, and will host a range of speakers including Unite’s regional secretary Annmarie Kilcline, Unite regional chair Asif Mohammed, Women and Equalities officer Maureen Scott-Douglas and Unite assistant general secretaries Howard Beckett and Steve Turner.
Turner is also planning to speak at the Unity Over Division conference in the South East, alongside other speakers from the region.
Commenting ahead of the day, Unite regional officer Annmarie Kilcline said, “I’m incredibly proud that Unite in the West Midlands is hosting this important conference.
“To bring so many of our shop stewards and activists together on Wear Red Day as part of our Unity over Division campaign in order to reach thousands of our members through our training and education programme and materials is vital if we are to stop the scapegoating of any group of people, which simply distracts from the real causes of problems in our workplaces and communities, and the real solutions to them.”
Explaining why tomorrow’s conferences were so central to the union’s work, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “There is a dangerous and growing far right with an agenda beyond race and religious hatred. As trade unionists we have a responsibility and a duty to stand up to them on the streets, in our workplaces, in our homes, pubs and communities.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett praised Show Racism the Red Card, which Unite has long supported, ahead of tomorrow’s conferences.
“The exemplary work that SRtRC undertakes by going into schools and using education to challenge racist views at an early age is perfectly complemented by the work my union is doing to challenge racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny and all hatred of ‘difference’ in workplaces and wider communities,” he said.
“Unite has long called for anti-racism to be on the national curriculum. It is only by education that we can truly seek to rid the world of racism, discrimination and prejudice of all kinds.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey urged everyone to embrace Wear Red Day and all that it stands for.
“As we saw only too starkly this week, there is still so much to do to get racism off our terraces and out of our communities,” he said.
“Wear Red Day is a day for true fans of football to stand together, to put the solidarity among players and supporters on display, and to remind the bigoted few that hate has no place in our game.
“Let’s wear our red with pride and use it to inspire the fight against prejudice that we continue to wage every day with determination.”
Find out more about how you can participate in Wear Red Day here. And stay tuned UniteLive for our Wear Red Day coverage tomorrow.