The past year has demonstrated the catastrophic impact that racism has on peoples lives. The pandemic has made stark the inequalities that lead directly to more black and minority ethnic people catching and ultimately dying from COVID-19.

The police murder of George Floyd during the first wave of the pandemic led to a wave of anger and protest on the streets. The Black Lives Matter movement saw people demonstrating their anger at a system that continues to discriminate and kill with impunity.

York Stand Up to Racism took to the streets during the lockdown in large socially distanced protests, where participants took the knee in an expression of solidarity and resistance.

Trade unions have a key role to play in this movement as was demonstrated at the joint TUC and Stand up to Racism conference held on the 27th of February where over a 1,000 participants joined workshops on topics such as ‘decolonising education’, ‘building solidarity and justice for refugees’ and from ‘discrimination to disproportionate deaths challenging institutional racism’.

The mood of the conference and the growing number of new black and minority ethnic activists getting involved across the trade union movement shows that in the present crisis the trade unions can play a crucial role in combating racism and opposing the politics of divide and rule.

The United Nations anti-racism day is on March the 20th this year and the TUC is supporting a day of action with Stand up to Racism. Please follow Stand up to Racism York on Facebook to find out about local events on the day. Or contact the branch for details of how to get involved.