Coalition for Racial Equality & Rights

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Racist incidents in Schools – Scotland needs a new approach

Scotland’s schools have recorded over 3,000 racist incidents in the past five years, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests. While this may seem shocking to some, we’re confident that it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2012, CRER undertook detailed research into racist incident recording practices and policies in Scotland’s schools. What we found was a patchy, problematic range of approaches. Based on research carried out by Respectme and LGBT Youth Scotland for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2015, little appears to have changed since then.

In our experience, two key problems make racist incident recording in Scotland’s schools ineffective. Firstly, a lack of understanding of the nature of racism and its impact in schools beyond direct cases of bullying; and secondly, disjointed recording processes and practices within schools.

Scotland’s education departments have had plenty of time to develop effective policy and practice in this area. Recording of all racist incidents in schools was a key recommendation of the Macpherson Report, the publication which cemented the definition of a racist incident as ‘Any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’ in 1999.

That understanding seems to have rolled back, replaced by a defensive arrogance which both misinterprets what racism means and puts more emphasis on pandering to white sensitivities about ‘being called racist’ than it does on protecting children from racism. This attitude persists despite the clear fact that it’s the incident (not the child or the school) which is being recorded as ‘racist’.

However, our 2012 research did find some examples of good policy making in local authority education departments on racist incident recording. This should be capitalised on at a national level so that children in all areas can benefit, putting an end to the current ‘post code lottery’ approach which makes it so difficult for parents in some areas to challenge schools’ failure to deal with racism.

In our experience, racism in schools is still a serious problem and we are not convinced that current approaches to tackling it are working. Even although we aren’t funded to provide advice services, CRER regularly hears from parents whose children have faced serious harassment, physical violence and psychological torment at the hands of their classmates. In many cases, these parents report being dismissed, belittled and (somewhat ironically) even bullied when they try to seek help for their children. And it’s not just school children who are affected. The majority of perpetrators of racist hate crimes in Scotland are young men who have recently been through the school system. If the system was working properly, they would know better.

In an interview with the Times Educational Supplement, Louis Kushnick (race equality activist and Professor Emeritus at Manchester University) put forward a strong argument for mandatory incident reporting as a tool for social change: “Do we want a society characterised by stupidity, bigotry and ignorance? Or do we want our children to be at ease with the world? ...If we don’t raise our children to be decent human beings, they’ll bring into school what they’re consuming elsewhere and no one will challenge it... If you don’t have monitoring you have no way of identifying the scale of the problem. And if you leave it up to schools, there’s no reward for flagging it up.” Our research supports that view.

The EHRC’s research from 2015 also demonstrated that while practice on race is mixed, most other forms of prejudice based incident aren’t recorded at all. But with no central guidance or collation of statistics to give momentum to this work, it’s perhaps little wonder that practice is often so poor. It’s time for Scotland to develop a national strategy on recording and responding to all forms of prejudice based incidents in schools. Our children’s wellbeing depends on it.

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‘Post-ref’ racism and five ways to tackle it

With the upsurge in media coverage of racism linked to ‘Brexit’, people have increasingly been asking CRER about getting involved in tackling racism and hate crime. This was a pleasant surprise for us. We deal with these issues on a day to day basis and have done for almost twenty years, so it’s refreshing to see so many people willing to stand up against racism (although it’s worth mentioning that concerns raised by Black activists about the tone of the current debate do resonate with us).

Whether you’re new to anti-racism or just looking for a different approach, there are dozens of ways to take action now and in the future. However you do it, the important thing is to build anti-racism into your day to day life; not just now, but for the long-run.

Here are our five top suggestions:

  1. Build a strong understanding of race and racism, and share this understanding with family, friends and colleagues. This will help increase the number of people who can make strong arguments against racism in all its forms:
  • Our ‘Changing the Race Equality Paradigm’ guide for organisations highlights some of the key concepts.
  • Websites like Media Diversified and Runnymede’s Race Matters have a range of articles that look at current affairs issues from a race perspective.
  • Finding out about Scotland’s Black History can help to challenge assumptions about minority ethnic communities in Scotland. There’s no one comprehensive source of information on this, but some resources are available on this page from Education Scotland. We co-ordinate Glasgow’s annual Black History Month programme of events; sign up to our email list if you’d like to receive more details later this year about the 2016 programme.

 

  1. Directly challenge racism and hate speech whenever it occurs, in a way that’s effective and safe:
  1. Report any racist incidents you see, whether in public spaces or online:
  • We developed a guide to responding to and reporting online hate speech; it also explores the difference between hate crime and hate speech.
  • If you witness a racist incident or hate crime in Scotland, you can report it to Police Scotland even if you weren’t the person being targeted.
  • If you see racist materials (for example posters, stickers or graffiti) in a public place, you can report it to your local Council’s environmental department (in Glasgow, there’s a dedicated Environmental Task Force). Materials intended to stir up racial hatred can also be reported to Police Scotland.
  • Report any racist incidents at work, College or University under the relevant policies, and support colleagues or fellow students who are complaining about racism.

 

  1. Encourage your local politicians to take action against racism:
  • Write to MPs, MSPs and local Councillors to ask what they are doing to tackle racism and racial inequalities, and encourage them to speak up on race equality.
  • Ask your local politicians to support local or national anti-racist campaigns.
  • If you’re a political party member, encourage your local branch to actively recruit more minority ethnic members and to encourage and support them to stand as election candidates.
  •  
  1. Work with others to tackle racism:
  • Some employers have equality committees or equality champion schemes you could get involved in. If not, there are often likeminded colleagues you could join up with to think about how to promote race equality at work.
  • You could help to arrange or promote anti-racist training opportunities at work. Ideally, encourage your employer to provide this widely to staff rather than just those who already have an interest.
  • Some Colleges and Universities have Students’ Union officers responsible for equality. They should be able to advise you about any opportunities to get involved in anti-racist activities on campus.
  • Universities can apply to join the ECU’s Race Equality Charter scheme.
  • You can support campaigning groups and get involved with community organisations. All organisations work in different ways, so opportunities range from volunteering to holding a fundraiser, donating money or attending a protest rally. Not all organisations advertise for volunteers or have formal volunteering processes (particularly smaller community groups) but if you can offer practical help, some will welcome informal involvement – so if you are aware of a local group you’d like to support, there’s no harm in getting in touch to offer your assistance. Most formal volunteering opportunities will be advertised through local Volunteer Centres.

 

As you’ll gather from our ‘Changing the Race Equality Paradigm’ guide, CRER’s focus is on tackling structural and institutional racism, so we’re particularly keen to see more individuals pushing for change in the institutions they’re involved in.

Tackling these entrenched forms of racism is especially important for the future generations of young minority ethnic Scots who will continue to face racism based on their skin colour. Xenophobia against white migrants (horrifying as it may be) thankfully often tails off once families have settled here. Their children grow up being perceived by others as Scottish; they look ‘Scottish’ and sound ‘Scottish’.

Black minority ethnic Scots whose grandparents were born here, on the other hand, continue to face the eternal question: “Where are you from?”

The attitude that underlies that question in ‘friendly’ small talk is the same one which leads to racist violence. Assumptions about whether someone belongs or not. About who is ‘welcome here’ – and, for that matter, who has the power and privilege to ‘welcome’ another person to their own home in the first place.

Truthfully, there’s nothing particularly new or different about the racism we’re seeing following the EU referendum. What’s really remarkable is the strength of the current public outcry against it, and the opportunity this brings to build support for anti-racism in Scotland.

We know from previous experience that the media will soon shift its focus away from hate crime, abuse and inequality. It never had much focus to begin with on the less dramatic but equally damaging racial inequalities people face in employment, income and political representation.

It’s up to all of us to keep anti-racism at the top of the agenda.

 

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Rights to Realities – The International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

 

This August, CRER will be reporting to the United Nations that, despite 41 years of commitment, BME people continue to face barriers in employment, political participation and accessing services such as health care . This discrimination is not inevitable, and with your support we can demonstrate to the UN how racial equality can be achieved in Scotland.

On 21st December 1965 the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) was adopted and opened for signature by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. It entered into force on 4 January 1969, which was ten years after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, four years after the Race Relations Act 1965 and 28 years before the official ‘end ’ of the British Empire.

Today the Convention has 88 signatories and 177 parties from across the world. ICERD requires state parties to submit a periodic report every few years on how they have complied with their ICERD obligations and then examines the states parties on their submissions, usually every four or five years; this is known as the examination process.

As well as the government report, civil society organisations (CSOs) and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are encouraged to submit reports on the government’s report. These can provide important alternative information to the Committee.

Later this summer CRER and other anti-racism organisations throughout the UK will be submitting comprehensive evidence that on-going systematic discrimination of Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups continues in our country.

The importance of human rights conventions in tackling inequality cannot be underplayed. With more and more organisations and Governments  taking a ‘rights-based approach’ to policy, human rights are no longer abstract ideas confined to committees in Europe. They have become the minimum standards that every citizen expects from each other, but most importantly they have protected marginalised groups from their own Governments.

At the last set of UK hearings, in 2011, the UN recommended that the UK State “develop and adopt a detailed action plan, with targets and monitoring procedures, in consultation with minority and ethnic groups, for tackling race inequality.” On 21st March, the Scottish Government did just that when they launched the Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030. Yet this is not the time to be complacent.

The Framework was an excellent example of how the Scottish Government worked with partners, BME communities, academics and civic society to set out their ambitions for tackling racism in Scotland. It will not be achieved without continued commitment and resources from all that helped to shape it. Making a strong representation to ICERD is one way to keep the pressure on and ensure the Framework delivers on its promises to minority ethnic communities.

Working with the Runnymede Trust, CRER has helped to publish key evidence of where discrimination still exists within Scotland which we will present to the UN this August. Further to this, we have set out our ambitions for how the rights of BME people can be further protected, enhanced and ultimately – realised every day.

In order for this to happen we need your support.

Runnymede has now incorporated our Scottish evidence and specific recommendations in a UK-wide NGO Shadow Report which will be presented to the UN Committee. We ask that your organisation now support this shadow report to display the shared commitment that we all have to achieving racial equality in Scotland.

The UK NGO Shadow Report to CERD and further information on how your organisation can support it can be found here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/projects-and-publications/europe/cerd.html

Further details on the ICERD and the UN Committee on Eliminating Racial Discrimination can be found here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/From%20local%20voices%20to%20global%20audience.%202015..pdf


A copy of the CRER's Scotland-specific Alternative Report as submitted for the 2011 UK hearings can be downloaded here. We are planning to present an updated Scotland specific alternative report for the 2016 hearings and this will be published on our website in July 2016.

Lesley Warren

CRER

 

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Three urgent equality requests from the Scottish Government at the beginning of the new parliamentary term

 

The 2011-2016 term of the Scottish Parliament saw significant strides forward for equality, including the introduction of the Scottish-specific public sector equality duty, passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014, the lowering of the voting age in the independence referendum and Scottish elections to 16, the development of the Equally Safe strategy, and the publication of the Race Equality Framework for Scotland. Ahead of the recent election, most Scottish political parties made commitments to equality in their manifestos, with some stronger and more specific than others.

However, despite promises and precedent, we know that making continuing progress on equality is a long and difficult process which requires considerable political will. As such, CRER has written today to the First Minister with three urgent requests to push forward the equality agenda in the new parliamentary term.

 

A Dedicated Minister for Equality

CRER believes there is merit in creating a ministerial post focused solely on equality, rather than including it as part of a wider remit or portfolio. Much more practical work remains to be done to promote equality for all those who face discrimination. The task of successfully implementing initiatives and strategies and of creating additional legislation and schemes needed to address issues for many equality groups is significant and expansive and deserves a dedicated focus.

Social justice and equality work are not the same. The former is largely concerned with income inequality and poverty, whereas equality seeks to address the prejudice and discrimination (both personal and institutional) faced by individuals because of who they are. These agendas are certainly related, but should not be conflated. With plans to progress the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and to introduce a socio-economic duty for public sector bodies, the Scottish Government would benefit from separating these two agendas to ensure each area of policy receives specific focus and expertise to effectively tackle inequality for all.

Furthermore, appointing a government minister to focus specifically on equality would send a strong message to the equality sector and to community members affected by equality issues that the Scottish Government values its commitment to equality and intends to keep it as a key priority area in the coming years.

 

Equality Impact Assessment of the Programme for Government

As legislation passes through the Scottish Parliament, it must undergo an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) to ensure that it does not have a negative impact on groups with protected characteristics, to determine if there is a differential impact on any one group in particular, and to highlight opportunities to promote equality that may have been missed.

Given this, CRER asked the First Minister to ensure that the upcoming programme for government itself be assessed prior to its announcement in the Scottish Parliament. Significant consideration must be given to the aims and potential effects of legislation and initiatives on equality. Performing an EqIA on the programme for government would offer a strategic method to identify the impact of these commitments and demonstrate that the Scottish Government is being conscientious and considered about equality.

 

Dedicated Resources for the Race Equality Framework for Scotland

The recently published Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030 made several promises to improve racial equality across a variety of sectors including education, employment, health, housing, justice, and participation. Given the fifteen year life of the Framework, CRER is mindful that the pledges made to communities require sustained resourcing and commitment to be successful in the long-term. It is exceptionally important that the Scottish Government recognises this and sets aside the resources needed to successfully implement the Framework in the coming years. Without this, it will fail to achieve the results promised and minority ethnic communities will continue to face racial discrimination and inequality.

At the start of the new parliamentary session, it is important that the equality sector and community groups hold MSPs and the Scottish Government to account for their commitments to equality. Fulfilling these three requests would go a long way to demonstrate that equality will remain high on the agenda in the term ahead.

 

Published: 12th May

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Race equality in 2016 party manifestos

Author Dorothea Brande once said, “A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved.”

In the case of tackling racial inequality in Scotland, several political parties are neither interested in stating the problem nor developing policies to solve it, at least according to their 2016 election manifestos.

The problem is that minority ethnic groups in Scotland are disadvantaged and discriminated against in a range of measures. 28% of Scots feel that there is sometimes a good reason to be prejudiced against certain groups, while 21% of those from non-white minority ethnic groups reported experiencing discrimination compared to only 6% of their white counterparts. 4,807 racist incidents occurred in Scotland in 2013/2014 and racist hate crime continues to be the most commonly reported hate crime in Scotland. Minority ethnic groups are under-represented in Scottish politics, with 1-2% of MPs, MSPs, and councillors from a non-white minority ethnic background, compared to 4% of the population. Those from non-white minority ethnic groups are underemployed at a much higher rate than those from white ethnic groups and the poverty rate for all minority ethnic groups is twice that of the white British poverty rate, despite minority ethnic children out-performing white ethnic pupils in school. Clearly, something is wrong in Scottish society.

Despite this, not every party standing candidates for election even mentioned racial equality in their manifestos, let alone set out ways to challenge and overcome this inequality.

Commendation must be given to the parties that not only stated the problem, but also offered solutions. The Scottish Green Party highlighted the issue of racial discrimination both for UK-born individuals and for refugees and first-generation migrants, and addressed issues including hate crime, education, political representation and participation, employment, poverty, and cultural diversity. They were also one of two parties who committed to the implementation of the Race Equality Framework for Scotland, alongside the Scottish National Party.

The Scottish Labour Party however have stated in their manifesto that they would consult with communities and publish a strategy to break down barriers faced by minority ethnic people. There is no mention of the (recently launched) Race Equality Framework for Scotland which compiled a huge database of information through public consultations. Likewise they state the many ways in which they wish to tackle inequality in education and employment, but make no mention of black and minority ethnic people and the specific barriers they face, or of the evidence that the Scottish Parliamentary inquiry published on race and employment.

The Scottish Labour party also published a BME-specific manifesto in addition to a disabilities, an LGBTI, and a women’s manifesto. While the BME manifesto was not well publicised, it addressed topics including opportunity, public life and representation, the economy, justice and health.

RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance dedicated a section of their manifesto to “anti-racism” and stated that they are an anti-racist organisation with a “zero-tolerance policy towards racism.” Their manifesto highlighted policies to improve Scotland’s awareness of racial inequality (both historical and modern), address institutional racism, end racist hiring practices, improve political representation for minority ethnic groups, and tackle racist policing.

The Scottish National Party pledged to appoint a Race Framework Advisor to implement a range of actions to tackle existing inequalities in minority ethnic communities in line with the Race Equality Framework for Scotland. The only other race-specific policy detailed in the party’s manifesto addressed increasing minority ethnic representation in Modern Apprenticeships. The manifesto addresses wider equality issues and states that teachers will be expected to undertake equality training to address prejudice-based bullying, police officers will receive appropriate training to investigate hate crimes, and public authorities will be required to gather diversity information to use it to inform employment practices.

Other parties mentioned racial equality, but this was alongside other equality areas and did not offer policies particular to tackling racism and discrimination. The Women’s Equality Party noted that women experience additional inequalities due to ethnicity, alongside other characteristics such as sexuality, gender identity, and class. Their manifesto highlighted issues of poverty, violence, hate crime, political representation, and media representation with the effect of these issues on BME women detailed alongside the effect on disabled women, LGBT+ people, and disabled people.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats asserted that there should be equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their race, sexuality, gender, religion, disability. One policy in particular applies to minority ethnic people – forming a stakeholder group to propose new ways to tackle the barriers to equal representation in senior roles in the police and education services.

However, the Scottish Conservative and UKIP did not address racism, racial equality, or issues facing minority ethnic groups in their manifestos.

While much progress has been made since the 2011 manifestos (when a vast majority of parties did not mention racial equality or racism at all), there is still much work to be done to convince parties that racial equality must be a policy priority.

Before politicians can put forward policies to tackle racial inequality, they must be willing to talk about it. For several parties, the 2016 manifestos were a missed opportunity to do just that.

NB: Please note, this blog was updated on 9th May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What impact will your manifesto really have on equality?

Rebecca Marek - December 2015

Equality is an ideal often spoken about in Scottish politics, with most political parties espousing equality in their rhetoric and advocating the advancement of equality, the elimination of discrimination, and the development of a fairer Scotland for all.

However, we know that in practice, this is not always the case. Manifesto commitments, political proposals, government policies, and legislation at times leaves groups with protected characteristics disadvantaged, acknowledges the needs of one equality group while overlooking the needs of others, or misses opportunities to progress a wider equality agenda.

And so, as we approach the 2016 Holyrood Elections, CRER is asking all political parties in Scotland to consider undertaking a (voluntary) Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) of their manifestos.

An EqIA is a systematic approach to examining the aims and outcomes of policy proposals to anticipate the likely impact of the proposals on people from all protected characteristics. It identifies who the proposals will benefit, determines whether there is any negative impact on groups with protected characteristics, and analyses whether is there is a disparate impact on any one group in particular. 

CRER believes that if achieving equality is a priority for political parties during the term of the next Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, significant consideration must be given to the aims and possible effects of manifesto proposals. Undertaking an EqIA would assist political parties in identifying the impact of their proposals on groups with protected characteristics, and demonstrate that parties are being conscientious and intentional about equality.

It’s not enough for parties to incorporate the word “equality” into their manifesto, nor is it enough to address one type of equality and ignore the rest. It’s also not enough to have a manifesto section on equality, when other sections include proposals that will likely lead to further inequality. Rather, the principle of equality should be mainstreamed throughout manifestos, and proposals should be assessed before they become commitments of the next government and parliament. 

If parties want to prove that they are serious about achieving equality – not just speaking about equality – this is a good place to start. Equality in Scotland, after all, has to matter past 5th May 2016. Why not demonstrate that commitment now? 

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Tagged in: CRER Equalities
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Do you know who’s coming to the party?          

Political parties and ethnicity monitoring

Rebecca Marek  - December 2015

Recently, the Scottish Government held a roundtable discussion to address the lack of diversity and representation in public life and to consider ways to increase the participation of under-represented groups in elected office. As far as we understand, no representatives of political parties were invited, which is unfortunate, given that responsibility for ensuring equal participation of BME communities within party politics lies largely with parties themselves.

Equal representation is essential to racial equality, but before there can be equal representation, there must be active participation in politics, and therefore, active members in political parties.

As part of ongoing research to inform the Scottish Government's Race Equality Framework, CRER contacted the party offices of the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservatives and Unionists, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish Green Party to enquire about ethnic demographics of their membership.

Four of the parties do not keep data on the ethnicity of their membership, with one party stating that the information was deemed “not important to collect.” One party had recently begun monitoring the diversity of its membership at a UK-wide level, but did not yet have data available.

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'I don’t want to make a fuss, I just want to ignore it.’
 

Everyday Racism
by Zandra Yeaman

Recent news has once again highlighted the issues of racism in Scotland and has led to some Facebook friends having to use their click power to unfriend people they have decided are racist.

The fear of being called racist has put many on the defensive. But as a colleague of mine pointed out, ‘being called “racist” is not an insult. It’s an adjective to describe something which prioritises the importance and value of one ethnic group’s identity, appearance, culture or way of life over others. It’s the assumption that your cultural viewpoint is the right way, the best way – everything else is an anomaly, to be tolerated at best and eradicated at worst.’ (http://www.crer.org.uk/crerblog?start=20)

Most people seem to think of racism in its extreme forms of a white person physically attacking a black person, or in overt forms such as a banana being thrown at a black footballer. However every day racism not only includes these forms of oppression but also racist practice that goes unnoticed but is nonetheless still felt strongly by Black Minority Ethnic (BME) people on a daily basis.

Despite BME people living with the anticipation that racial discrimination can (even will) happen, and this in itself is stressful, what is usually forgotten is that most BME people are not overly sensitive to racial discrimination; in fact many are reluctant to label behaviour as racist before giving the situation serious consideration.  No one wants to feel humiliated because of who they are or because of the colour of their skin.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider some examples of what everyday racism looks like:

Politicians make discriminatory statements such as ‘British jobs for British workers’;

Daily Mail cartoon depicting black people in the jungle along with a headline “‘Am I Black?’ asks Tom Jones”.

Teachers sharing Britain First posts with racist sentiments with their classes;

White people rolling their eyes at yet another challenge to their racist joke (and then complaining ‘you can’t say anything these days without the fear of being accused as racist’);

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A Crisis of Racism and Refugees
Colin Clark

"So, I think it's got a lot to do with racism. I think if these people were white, European… that [they] were coming from some dictatorship in Bosnia or somewhere… I think we would feel quite differently about it.” – Emma Thompson, BBC Newsnight, 02-09-15

​Choosing her words rather carefully, the actress Emma Thompson eloquently summarised what is surely a glaring truth regarding the current situation across the Mediterranean - this is as much a crisis of racism as it is a crisis of refugees. Indeed, the shocking images we have seen on the front pages of our newspapers, and on our television screens, in the last few days is a political crisis of failed Governmental responses to human mobility in the face of persecution. Further, this failed response to events in Syria - as well as countries such as Afghanistan and Eritrea - is explicitly built upon the foundations of a sedentary, ‘othering: a peculiarly European typology of racism.
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Election 2015:  Interview with Sanjoy Sen

Our latest Election 2015 blog interview features Sanjoy Sen, Scottish Conservative Candidate for Aberdeen North, who was inspired to stand for election after the Referendum campaign.

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Sanjoy is a chemical engineer and currently a self-employed consultant specialising in the oil and gas sectors. He got involved in politics after the referendum campaign.

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Election 2015:  Interview with Pramod Subbaraman

In the second of our Election 2015 blog interviews, Pramod Subbaraman (Liberal Democrat candidate for Edinburgh South) shares his views on race equality in the political world.

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Pramod explains: "I was born and raised in Southern India and moved to the UK in 2005 at the age of 28. I moved at that time as I was invited by the Department of Health to help fill the shortage of dentists in the English NHS. It was not an easy ride as there were a lot of hurdles erected for immigrants from outside the EU and that did take its toll, but I jumped over those hurdles, occasionally knocking a few and had to start again in places. I started working in England and then moved to Scotland in 2013. I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and am now the candidate for the General Election to represent the people of Edinburgh South". 

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In the run up to the 2015 General Election on 7th May, we’re interviewing some of Scotland’s minority ethnic MP candidates to find out what inspires them in their political life. Our first interviewee is George Jabbour, Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for Inverclyde.


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Biography

George was born in Syria. He spent the first 22 years of his life there. After graduating from Damascus University with a Civil Engineering degree, George came to Britain in 2004 to study for a Master’s degree in Finance at Imperial College London. George said: “Britain is the country with whose values and principles I identified the most”.

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Culture, Confidence and Community – the new European Roma Institute (ERI)

A guest blog by Professor Colin Clark

On March 26th George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, and Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe published a co-authored article entitled ‘Why we are setting up a European Roma Institute’ (Soros and Jagland, 2015).

Although less than 700 words in length, this European Voice article contains the foundations and promise of a symbolic and actual paradigm shift for up to 12 million Romani lives and livelihoods. The authors point out that although at the heart of Europe, the diffuse Romani communities spread across the territory have been denied an institution that can strategically and sensitively convey and represent heterogeneous issues of Romani culture, identity and politics.

The time has now come, argue Soros and Jagland, to change this reality: social exclusion and economic deprivation must transform into meaningful opportunity and material outcomes across areas of art, politics, music, life. The European Roma Institute, they suggest, is the vehicle to deliver this. At heart, this is the radical and fundamental paradigm shift that has been a long time coming in Romani Studies. The promise must now become reality.

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3305

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Glasgow is part of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, and as part of this coalition people in Glasgow are being asked to contribute their experiences to help shape a travelling play that will tour Europe.

If you have experienced discrimination, you can tell your story online at www.discriminations.eu. The organisers (the City of Liège and ECCAR) are looking for examples of all kinds of discrimination, whether related to race, disability, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation or religion and belief.

Selected stories will be used to develop the play at the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Liège.

Please share this information with friends, colleagues and communities so we can ensure Glasgow is well represented alongside our fellow ECCAR cities in this exciting project.

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Black History Celebration in Midlothian

A colourful celebration featuring talks, music, African dancing and food will take place at Dalkeith Arts Centre on Wednesday 29 October between 4pm and 7pm.

The evening will also feature a talk from Sir Geoff Palmer, Scotland’s first black professor, freeman of Midlothian, who is due to explore historical links between Scottish history and the history of Black people in the Caribbean.

There will also be live music from Ghana born Benny Tettech-Lartey, a BBC Scotland, award-winning musician from Loanhead.

The audience will have an opportunity to speak directly with both Sir Geoff and Benny to learn what Midlothian means to them.

Provost Joe Wallace is also due to attend, he said: “This is a fantastic project showcasing our diversity and multiculturalism in Midlothian. I’d urge everyone to come along and support us, while we celebrate and commemorate such a wonderful and important cause.” 

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Tagged in: Black History
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Trip to David Livingstone Centre

The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights has organized a day trip to the David Livingstone Centre. The guided tour will take you through his life, giving you an insight into the character, and the adventures and achievements of the man who went from mill boy to Victorian hero.

Cost: £4.50 for adults and £2.50 for children, and free for members of the National Trust for Scotland

Free travel from Glasgow to the David Livingstone Centre will be provided.

Date: Wednesday 29th October 2014

Time: 11am - 3.30pm

Venue: David Livingstone Centre, 165 Station Road, Blantyre, G72 9BY

For more info: Contact Nadia, nadia@crer.org.uk, 0141 418 6530

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4760

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Comedy Night with Quincy

Stand-up, presenter, actor and compere, Quincy hosts his own live chat show, is a TV warm up (BBC’s Blouse and Skirts) and has presented on BBC1 Xtra and Klymaxx FM. His live comedy work includes weekends at The Comedy Store, regular weekends at Jongleurs and Jongleurs On The Road, and comedy clubs up and down the country and abroad, headlining and compering. He also tours in large-scale venues all over the UK and as a stand-up and in sketch shows including United Colours of Comedy at the Hackney Empire and Big Sister at The Oval Theatre, The Hackney Empire and Stratford East Theatre.

Winner of Black Entertainment Comedy Award 2005 “Big personality”

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Tagged in: Black History
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Inspired by Black History Month?

Now Is the Time to start planning for Black History Month 2015.

The Heritage Lottery Fund can provide grants from £3,000 for projects that help people explore heritage. Heritage can be anything from the past that you want to pass to future generations. It could be researching long ago history, learning more about current traditions, uncovering community memories, or exploring the natural or built environment around you.

Come to a workshop to find out more about applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), hear from successful projects on how they did it and meet with HLF development staff to discuss ideas.

Date: Wednesday 22nd October 22,

Time: 1pm-3pm

Venue: The Coalition For Racial Equality and Rights 78 Carlton Place, Glasgow, G5 9TH

Bookings are essential.

Please email nadia@crer.org.uk or call on 0141 418 6530 and advise of any dietary or access requirements.

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Girls on Film

Glasgow Girls is a specially commissioned musical drama for BBC Three and BBC Scotland that tells the inspirational true story of a group of schoolgirls whose petition to save their friend from deportation inspired a movement which would eventually help change immigration practices in Scotland and garnering them the Scottish Campaign of the Year award in 2005.

Come and see the film and also have the chance to meet the real Glasgow Girls.

Date: Friday 24th of October 2014 at 6pm

There will be free refreshments provided.

Venue: Debates Chamber (Level 6), University of Strathclyde Students’ Association, 90 John Street, Glasgow G1 1JH

More info: Roza Salih, 0141 567 5028, ussa.vpda@strath.ac.uk

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From Home Front to Front Line: As Good as Any Man

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

Join author Roy Laycock as he introduces you to Arthur Roberts a Black WW1 Soldier who served with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and fought at Passendaele.

“As Good As Any Man” tells his life story from the chance discovery in a Glasgow loft of his diaries, memoirs and memorabilia.

The diary entries – ranging from May 1917 to March 1918 – were written by Arthur Roberts while he served initially with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers before being transferred to Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1917. He details what life was like for him during the First World War, how he survived the Battle of Passchendaele, and how he escaped unscathed when a German shell killed a dozen men round him. Yet Arthur was an otherwise unknown man – what was the rest of his life like? 

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Tagged in: Black History CRER