Show Racism the Red Card in Shropshire
Shropshire Council is stepping up visible efforts to tackle racism, by encouraging all staff to mark Wear Red Day on Friday 16 October 2020 and ‘show racism the red card’.
The council is working with the national charity Show Racism the Red Card, building on support from Unison as we did last year, and making this year’s event the key initiative in local activity with partners to mark Black History Month.
As the majority of the 3,500 staff are working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, this has presented an opportunity for truly countywide coverage. The council is encouraging staff to either wear red that day, which the directors will be doing, or find something red to display in the background of their home workplace, and then send in a picture. This could be anything from drinking from a red mug, eating watermelon, hugging a cat on a red cushion, displaying flowers, etc. We will then have a gallery of visual support for efforts to tackle racism.
There will also be displays at the face-to-face customer outlets in Ludlow, Oswestry and Shrewsbury (Shropshire Local in the Darwin Centre), and there is an online resources page on the council website to highlight a range of materials around Black History Month.
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:-
“I am delighted that Shropshire Council is once again supporting national Wear Red Day to show racism the red card, and that this year we are stepping up to show our visible support from our homes across our large and rural county. Racism is not an urban issue, it is everyone’s issue.
“It is important to take every opportunity to highlight inequalities in society and injustice to groupings in our community, and this event, as our key initiative during Black History Month, gives us the platform to do just that.
“I am pleased that our directors will be wearing red that day, and I am encouraging all Shropshire Councillors and officers to either wear red or show their support with something red, and to send in their pictures. These will become a visual gallery of support, and I really look forward to seeing what people come up with, whether it is a cat on a red cushion or red flowers in the background. In so doing, we can all help the council to play its part in helping Shropshire to truly become the welcoming county that we want it to be.”
The national charity have indicated their own mutual support. Tosca Fairchild, Chair of Show Racism the Red Card, lives in Shropshire herself. She said:
“As a local resident and Chair of Show Racism the Red Card, it gives me so much hope to see Shropshire Council leading and being an exemplar in bringing their staff together to raise awareness on anti-racism. Shropshire is large and geographically diverse. The council is well placed to drive and highlight that racism has no place in our society.
“It gives me hope that there are community members who are committed to changing the world so that everyone’s ‘normal’ is the same, irrespective of skin colour. It gives me hope that one day we will live in a community and world where only one race counts – the human race. I commend Shropshire Council for showing racism the red card.”
This activity has a clear tie into our agreed corporate equality objective, approved by Cabinet in July 2020, of working jointly to promote national initiatives such as this campaign. It builds upon the statement made by Peter Nutting, the Leader, to Cabinet on 6 July 2020, in which he said:
“We recognise that we all have a role to play to bring about positive change by promoting equality here in Shropshire. We will therefore lead by example and not tolerate discrimination, harassment and victimisation of any kind. “
This strand of equality activity also links with the emerging feedback from a staff survey carried out for Blackout Day in July, where the responses showed a groundswell of staff support for to do more as an organisation to visibly tackle racism.
Staff will be encouraged to view a film from the charity. This online offering complements other online resources for Black History Month in Shropshire, where the council has been working with NHS health care colleagues. As well as the resources page on the council website www.shropshire.gov.uk (click here), an online talk has been arranged with local speakers and with Patrick Vernon OBE, the Windrush campaigner. This is tomorrow evening (Thursday 15 October 2020), between 7pm and 8 pm, open to all Shropshire Council and healthcare colleagues.
Patrick Vernon will be talking about the book that he has co-authored with Dr Angelina Osborne, “100 Great Back Britons”, which celebrates the achievements of key Black British individuals through history.
The Wear Red Day charity makes reference in its literature and films to the importance of remembering the Holocaust and other genocides, as we already do through Holocaust Memorial Day activity with school and interfaith forums. We are growing a cherry tree orchard of remembrance across Shropshire through planting a tree with a different primary school every year.