Blog Archive

Monday 2 May 2016

Report on the TUC Black Workers Conference

BARAC had a busy three days at TUC Black Workers Conference with BARAC members attending the conference as trade union delegates and observers, organising a Sarah Reed Justice Campaign fringe meeting and an art exhibition and book launch by Co-Chair of BARAC Zita Holbourne.  

Amongst BARAC representatives at the conference were Zita, Donna Guthrie, Hector Wesley, Antonietta Torsiello and Carol Notice-Hodgson. 

Hector Wesley, PCS NEC and BARAC International Officer

Donna Guthrie, National Women's Officer BARAC UK and Unite the Union rep

A motion moved by the PCS Union called on the TUC and affiliates to make links between campaigns on supporting refugees, against climate change and on anti racism and anti fascism and to support the work of organisations such as BARAC coordinating aid convoys to refugees in France.

The motion was carried unanimously.

An emergency motion calling on affiliates and the TUC to support the Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice, also proposed by the PCS Union was carried unanimously.  Both motions were moved by Zita.

Marilyn Reed, mother of Sarah Reed was due to address the conference on Saturday morning was due to being unwell was unable to. Instead Donna McKoy from the Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice read Marilyn's speech and received a standing ovation.  You can watch an extract of her presentation here

Donna McKoy, Blaksox and Starah Reed campaign

A bucket collection for the campaign collected £150.

left to right, Betty Joseph, Chair of Conference , Donna McKoy, Zita Holbourne

A motion put forward by the POA called on the TUC Black Workers Conference to change it's name to BAME.

Like Black Workers Conference, Society of Black Lawyers, Southall Black Sisters and countless other organisations BARAC uses the term black in its political sense to include all those that identify as being black and from the African and Asian diasporas.

Zita spoke against the motion on behalf of the TUC Race Relations Committee and several unions spoke in opposition.  You can watch Zita's speech here

The motion was heavily defeated.

The BARAC Fringe Meeting in support of the Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice was sponsored by the PCS Union for which we are grateful.

The meeting was chaired by Zita Holbourne and speakers  were Donna McKoy  who spoke about the next steps for the campaign and how people could help and Donna Guthrie, BARAC Women's Officer who spoke about the wider context of  Sarah's tragic death and the combined impacts of racism, sexism, black mental health, institutitional racism and austerity. 

Donna Guthrie, Donna McKoy and Zita Holbourne 

Each year the TUC Race Relations Committee choose a cause to support through their annual fundraising dance at the conference. This year they chose BARAC Humanitarian Aid Convoys. The dance raised £1500 through ticket sales. 

More information and donate here

In addition Zita curated the Roots Culture Identity art exhibition at the conference  featuring the art of young, black and migrant artists with Zita's art and she launched her new book Striving for Equality Freedom and Justice. BARAC member Antonietta Torsiello had art featured in the exhibition and Donna Guthrie with Antonietta ran  a stall at the conference.

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