Black History Month

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2008 National Black Members' Conference
15 September 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that too often the history, perspectives and contributions of African, Asian and Caribbean communities are not reflected in the educational curriculum, employment or society.

Crimes committed against Black people including empire and colonialism are often presented as positive achievements with the reality of what they meant for millions of people and their ongoing impact today either reversed, downplayed or ignored entirely.

Black History Month (BHM) is an important opportunity to challenge this and celebrate the reality of our contribution to the development of all aspects of society.

This year the bicentenary of the parliamentary act to abolish the “slave trade”, has provided Black communities with an opportunity to raise awareness of the role Black people played in achieving liberation from enslavement and colonialism. Sadly, some continue to marginalise the Black voice in these accounts, focusing exclusively on white abolitionists and portraying Black people as passive victims, instead of active resisters, of enslavement.

It is welcome that UNISON has begun to recognise BHM by producing an annual poster, briefing with activities for branches, and a web site.

Conference instructs the National Black Members Committee (NBMC) to work with the National Executive Council (NEC) to:

1.Provide support and encourage members and branches to hold BHM initiatives;

2.Make proper resources available nationally on the web site and produce a robust briefing on BHM which includes practical activities for branches, the origins and meaning of BHM to distribute to branches, regions and members;

3.Lobby for the real and central contribution of Black people to the abolitionist struggle to be placed at the heart of ongoing bicentenary and anti-racism initiatives and UNISON’s activities.