Yvonne Green was presented with the 2020 Nelson Mandela Award at this weekend’s Black members’ conference, by vice president Sian Stockham, for going “above and beyond” her duties toward Black members.
“Yvonne is an inspiration to us all proving what can be achieved when you don’t give up the struggle,” said Carol Sewell, chair of the national Black members’ committee.
The award is particularly coveted, as winners are chosen by their peers.
Ms Green is a pioneer. She is the first Black person to hold the role of branch secretary in the London Borough of Croydon, where she has driven forward the equality agenda on behalf of UNISON members, often raising contentious and difficult issues.
Her employer has not only appointed her as its first female Black director, but has now appointed four women to the position of executive directors – three of whom are Black.
Ms Green has also overseen the introduction of trade union officers sitting as panel members at interviews for senior director positions, which is an unprecedented achievement.
She also holds many other roles, which include being the Greater London regional convenor for several years.
“Equality is at the heart of everything I do,” she told delegates. “The right not to be discriminated against or bullied, the right to fair treatment is vital. I am delighted to have been chosen as this year’s winner.
“I am overwhelmed with pride to be honoured in this way.”