News & views

Need help now?

Our advice centre has a lot of the information you need.

Read more

Stand up for equality!

We're looking for members to become equalities reps

Read more

Join the conversation

Join members on our equalities facebook group to get involved in our work

Read more

Do not be a bystander to racism

Abi Sesay
Abi Sesay
25th June 2020

Incidents of the past fortnight, following the murder of George Floyd in America, have made landmark histories with a rippling effect across continents.

In the UK, synonymous to this killing is 19 years old Stephen Lawrence: murdered by five white peers and covered up by white police in 1993. This issue of racism and discrimination is not new. What is new is people are not only educated, exposed and angry about racism and political nuances but tired of being lied to.

I have kept a close eye on the global protests and keenly watched Colston toppled by protestors in Bristol and sent to swim with the thousands of defenceless blacks he called slaves; whilst Cecil Rhodes in Oxford and other slave merchants around Britain are sought after.

What has angered people so bad to cause them to take leadership decisions to seek justice for the voiceless?

The answer?

Misinformation and deliberate redaction of Black history amidst ongoing racism!

The rainbow diversity of protestors around Europe and America is evidential of collective anger against the system and politics that maintains racism and suppresses the fundamentals of global Black history.

Systems of government and powerful leaders have for centuries given piecemeal and inaccurate information about Black people. The world now needs the naked truth!

This is especially colonial countries like America, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany and Britain! Britain is much more tolerant and diverse than many countries but things are still bad and we can do better.

Especially so the growing discrimination in the workplace.

As trade unionists we must denounce and condemn any form of racism and discrimination. Turning a blind eye because you’re not directly affected is just as bad as the perpetrators.

This is evident in the case of 41 year old Amin Abdallah – the nurse who burnt himself to death outside Kensington Palace in February 2016 weeks after been sacked by email from Charing Cross Hospital following a misconduct case. Months after his death, an independent report found he was ‘treated unfairly’.

Amin Abdullah’s death could have been prevented; if only someone was paying attention. George Floyd would have been alive if only someone in authority, like one of the three police officers, had intervened.

If only the systemic failings had not been encouraged and normalised for so long. There are hundreds of unknown Amin Abdullah’s in the workplaces that I represent.

Rather than be bystanders avoiding the issues, we can intervene and educate to make a difference.

A brave example is that of Patrick Hutchinson, a brave black protestor who physically saved a white man from being mobbed to death on 14 June 2020, during violent clashes between rival Black Lives Matter protesters and far-right protesters. The victim is an alleged far-right protester who fell to the ground and being beaten by rival activists whilst his group ran off.

Patrick could have turned a blind eye or joined in beating the white protestor. But no! Patrick instead did the unthinkable – he intervened and saved a mans life ; ignoring his color, purpose and belief. How great!

We have a lot to do as trade unionists. Educate our family and friends, members and the community about the significance of togetherness and looking out for each other irrespective of the skin color, race, religion or hierarchy.

It is for this reason that I support petitions currently calling for Black History to be mandatory in British Education system just like the Tudors. I am currently aware of 4 petitions seeking mandatory teaching of Black History in English curriculums. It is not enough but it’s a start!

Please click here to change.org and sign up to make a difference in education!

This blog was written by Abi Sesay, National Officer for IDU Community.

If you want to get more involved in Community’s equalities work, you can join our Facebook group, or register your interest in becoming an equalities rep.

If you aren’t already a member, you can join us here.