Blog: The murder of George Floyd is another example of the racism that blights US society – Guest post by Mavreen Ncube

The murder of George Floyd is another example of the racism that blights US society. There are those who would claim that the situation in the UK is different, but that’s not true. That is why we all have to commit ourselves to be actively anti-racist in our attitudes and our behaviours. UNISON Northern has always been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns since our union’s earliest days and has a very active Black Members Self-Organised Group, chaired by Mavreen Ncube who writes this guest blog on such an important issue. 

Mavreen writes: 

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, died as a result of police brutality. His death has sparked worldwide outrage with mass protests across the US.

There has been a long history of police brutality in the United States, the unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by U.S. police officers, particularly black men and women.  

George Floyd’s story is one of many stories that show how much a black man’s life is regarded as less important than that of his fellow white countrymen. The world now needs to stand united against such atrocities against black people.

Amid the Pandemic, George Floyd lost his life, not because of a disease that has taken many lives, but at the hands of another man. A man who heard his cries but chose not listen to them, a man who could have stopped and spared his life but didn’t.

The fight against racism, discrimination and injustice in our society should be everyone’s concern. As a nation we should raise awareness regarding these ongoing issues. Although we have come a long way, stories such as George Floyd’s, should makes us reflect on our attitudes, behaviour and unconscious bias. 

As a union we stand in solidarity with compassion on matters such as these.  In the UK, there are still issues with discrimination and racism. Black people are disproportionately affected by inequalities that exist in the UK. We need to call for a fairer society for all. 

UNISON strives to create an environment that nurtures equality while fighting against discrimination and Injustice.  We aim to give people of colour a voice to share their views and experiences, with an aim of providing a platform for positive change to occur. 

As we remember George Floyd let’s also recognise that you and I have work to do.  Let us be the change that we want to see, we need to create a world that fair for all. A world that celebrates our differences, a world free from discrimination and racism. 

Terry Johnstone, Anti-Racism Lead said: UNISON Northern works hand in hand with our partners at Show Racism the Red Card and we remain committed to working together to eradicate racism across our region. The civil unrest we are seeing in Cities across America following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis shows the true measure of inequality in the US. We have seen a rise in far right attitudes across the UK in the years following EU referendum and even now, whilst UNISON members in the NHS and Local Govt are working hard to help the public during the Coronavirus outbreak they are experiencing an increase in racist abuse which is simply not acceptable. SRtRC recently released a new film featuring UNISON members raising the issue of racism NHS staff face on a daily basis.

UNISON members in the Northern region are determined that the fight against racism must go on despite the lockdown, which is why we are working with SRtRC to provide online training for all of our branches and reps which builds on the fantastic work we have done over recent years to train cohorts of anti-racism ambassadors to challenge discrimination in their workplaces and communities. Our members are positive that we can change society so that all people can be free from racism and abuse.

Tonight UNISON’s Regional Office in Newcastle will be lit purple in solidarity with those fighting for justice for George Floyd.