Monday, 11 February 2013

Stand Up - Start Living: CWU Black Leadership Weekend

Thanks to (from left): Roseberry, Lloyd, Jonas, Sylvia.Olufemi, Prince, Worrel, Sadiq Khan MP (guest speaker), Adam, Bash, Pete, Moses, Hayden, Shaik, AJ, Linda Roy (CWU Nat Equalities Officer), Sammy and me on the end.

Just recovering from a tremendous weekend of solidarity and action leading a CWU black leadership course at the union's education centre in Alvescot, Oxon.
The first thing I must state unequivocally is how committed and supportive the entire group were to discussing and analysing the current state of BME representation in the union, and what they, and other black workers, must do about it.
As part of this early discussion, the group adopted as their unofficial motto the phrase used by the striking WalMart workers in their fight for greater representation in the union: stand up, start living.
The focus of the weekend was the recently completed Proportionality Report which paints a poor picture of BME (and other eg women, LGBT etc/) representation across the union: no FTOs, no NEC reps for starters. The mood throughout the weekend was never pessimistic however, indeed, the ultimate focus was upon the reponsibility of those attending to effect change.
The guest speakers (Zita Holbourne and Sadiq Khan) sparked huge debate around, for example, austerity and its impact on BME communities, and thus the need for a wider relevancy on the part of trade unions.
Ultimately, the weekend was fundametally positive and focused and one of my most enjoyable experiences recently of working with BME activists on issues of leadership and activism.
Many thanks to Trish Lavelle (Nat Education Officer) for the time, energy and committment in getting the weekend off the ground and for leading Sunday's session on the Proportionality Report. Thanks too to AJ Singh for acting as an outstanding role model - something thrust upon him - throughout the weekend and who helped to shape the debate.
This weekend - beacuse of Trish and those attending - is the start of something great!
In Solidarity
More pics from the weekend.....
The young, black voice of the CWU - Hayden and Mosi

Myself, Prince, Zita Holbourne, Hayden and Mosi after Zita's
speaker slot on Friday

Reflection and analysis were central to the weekend's focus
as with Prince and Roseberry here.


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