Coalition for Racial Equality & Rights


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The Fierce Urgency of Now

There are times of crisis and injustice in human history when great incisive minds see clearly and speak with passionate clarity about the way forward. They capture the mood and will of the people at that time and give it an inspirational voice.

As part of Black History Month we are presenting some of the great speeches from the movement for equality and justice not just because they are important records of Black History's great struggle for self-determination, but because they continue to energise and galvanise today’s listener.
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Tagged in: Black History CRER


CRER Debate: Should Scotland Apologise for its Role in Slavery?

Over recent years, the debate about Scotland’s involvement with slavery has gained momentum. Whether you agree or not, Scotland’s complicity in its slavery past is a topic that inspires fierce debate among academics, the public and the media.

For Black History Month 2014 CRER brings to you key speakers including award winning writer Chris Dolan and Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, to argue for and against the need for Scotland to apologise for its role in this vile trade.

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Tagged in: Black History CRER


The Black Minstrelsy in Scotland

This interactive lunchtime event will discuss the black faced minstrel shows from America at a critical time in the battle for “hearts & minds” on the issue of slavery in the southern states of America – in the two decades prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. The great emancipation campaigner Frederick Douglass, then in Scotland, denounced the shows as rooted in racist bigotry.

The presentation will be delivered by Dr Eric Graham, Honorary Post-Doctoral Fellow, and Scottish Centre for the Diaspora, University of Edinburgh. Project consultant to the Structure & Significance of British Caribbean Slave ownership project (UCL) and author of Burns & the Sugar Plantocracy of Ayrshire.

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Tagged in: Black History CRER


The Great Black Quiz Night 

Could you name the Black Football player who captained Scotland to a 6-1 victory over England?

Which famous Crimean War nurse said “I am a Creole, and have good Scots blood coursing through my veins. My father was a soldier of an old Scottish family.”

Which brave woman drew national attention to segregation in the American South when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white person?

Who was the first Black politician to be elected to office in Scotland?

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Tagged in: Black History CRER

Date: Wednesday 8 October 2014

Venue: Rutherglen Town Hall, 139 Main St, Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire G73 2JJ

Time: 7.30pm

Tickets: £6

Call our Box Office on 0141 613 5700 or visit us online at 

WALTER TULL, the first black officer in the British Army is portrayed in powerful new play, touring this year in celebration of Black History Month.

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Tagged in: Black History


Black History Month is an opportunity to mark the struggles and successes of Black people in the past and present; issues which may have been forgotten about or are absent from our history books and the education system.

In Scotland, it has been celebrated since 2001. Here, Black History Month has encompassed the history of African, Caribbean and Asian people in this country; people who often have a direct link with Scotland through slavery or colonialism. It is a time to acknowledge the contributions, sacrifices and achievements that have been made which inspire us, but also a time to remember, and take the opportunity to apply the lessons of the past to build upon our future.

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For the first time, detailed information on stop and search at a local level has been made available through Police Scotland’s
Local Policing Management Information reports. Carol Young explores what this data tells us about race equality in stop and search.

Institutional racism in stop and search has long been seen as one area where England and Scotland diverge in terms of race equality. Inequalities are well evidenced south of the border, with people from Black communities six times more likely to be stopped and searched in England and Wales in 2010.

In Scotland, stop and search is generally more prevalent than it is in England and Wales. This may be at least partly due to differences in legal powers, with non-statutory[1] stop and search being prohibited in England and Wales since 2003. Looking at Police Scotland’s preferred measure of stop and search, the rate per 10,000 people, stop and search rates are almost seven times higher in Scotland than in England and Wales (1,285 stop and searches per 10,000 people compared to 180). Comparing the two areas with the highest rate of stop and search, Cleveland in England recorded 570 stop and searches per 10,000 people, whereas Glasgow in Scotland recorded 3,712. These are the latest comparable figures, for 2012/13.[2] More recent figures for Scotland from Police Scotland’s Management Information 2013/14 show a slight drop, to 1,206 per 10,000.

Despite the relative prevalence of stop and search, to date national statistics have suggested that stop and search has little impact on race equality in Scotland. According to Police Scotland, over 2013/14 “95.9% of stop and searches recorded were conducted on persons of white ethnicity which is very close to the proportion of ethnic white people in the Scottish population in the 2011 Scottish Census (96%).” This is as far as that report’s overview of stop and search by ethnicity goes. Although statistical tables give more detail, the written analysis of race equality is purely about white communities.

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Tagged in: CRER Equalities Policing

b2ap3_thumbnail_s200_colin.clark.jpgGuest Blog by Professor Colin Clark

The recent publication of NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey for 2013 appears to show that tolerance and acceptance of others has become rather passé in Britain. People are now bolder and more assertive in openly declaring their prejudices. Since 2000 there has been a significant rise in the number of people who self-report to BSA researchers as being racially prejudiced. Drawing on a sample of 2,149 people, the question asked by BSA researchers since the early 1980s has been: "How would you describe yourself … as very prejudiced against people of other races, a little prejudiced, or not prejudiced at all?" In Scotland, 25% of those asked this question suggested they were either ‘very’ or a ‘little’ prejudiced. This represents a double-digit increase north of the border - the figure was ‘just’ 14% in 2000. Across Britain as a whole, the figure is 30% for 2013, up 5% from 2000.

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Tagged in: Guest Blog News Racism


This week’s news has been dominated by racism both in the UK and abroad. The
Dani Alves incident, Jeremy Clarkson mark one and two, various UKIPpers, and a US basketball team owner (who ironically owes his successes in that position to the very people he seems to hate).

High profile recognition that racism is unacceptable should be a good thing. We should be welcoming all of this discontent about racist language. But look a little deeper and it soon becomes clear that this week’s debate is no cause for celebration.

What should have been an opportunity to highlight the fact that racism is alive and kicking has somehow morphed into a tit-for-tat argument around semantics and the meaning of free speech. The main problem with this is that only a handful of the current commentators seem to properly understand the semantics of racism in the first place.

One key point they’re missing is that the word “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.

Another misunderstanding (which can even be seen in some of the supposedly anti-racist coverage of these incidents) lies around why racist language is not acceptable. Racist language is not just a social faux-pas showing how out of touch, ignorant or unpleasant the user is. It’s part of a deep rooted structure that can’t be explained in a few column inches, however critical they may be.

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Tagged in: Racism


(left to right: Robert Brown (Lib Dems), Jatin Haria (CRER), Gary Dunion (Greens),
Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh (SNP), Colin Clark (Chair), Jennifer Glinski (CRER), David Coburn (UKIP), Asim Kham (Labour)

With only two months left till the European Parliament (EP) elections, CRER decided to host an informative session and a political hustings surrounding all things European Parliament. Our goal was to provide people with more insight, information and knowledge of the EP and its functions but also present people with an opportunity to hear from the Scottish European Parliament candidates directly.

The informative afternoon session was led by Mr Per Johansson, the Head of the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh, who provided the audience with an overview of the European Parliament and the upcoming elections. Mr Johansson highlighted the differences between the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Commission and the powers of each institution. He then focused on the legislative power of the EP and how the decisions made affect the everyday lives of everyone in Europe.

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"I call on all people, especially political, civic and religious leaders, to strongly condemn messages and ideas based on racism, racial superiority or hatred as well as those that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the 21st March to commemorate the day in 1960 where police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa. The official day was proclaimed six years later by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in a call to the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. 

The 21st of March this year, marks the first celebration of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination since the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela. President Mandela’s legacy is particularly relevant to the 21st March celebrations due to his historic struggle against apartheid and the victory over racist forces in South Africa. 

This year the UN has decided to honour the courageous struggle of an extraordinary leader in the fight against racism and chosen “The Role of Leaders in Combatting Racism and Racial Discrimination” as the 2014 theme for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

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Over 50% of Premier League and Football League footballers have either witnessed or been subjected to racist abuse in football stadiums according to a consultation undertaken by Kick It Out.

The consultation, carried out between August 2013 and December 2013, was completed confidentially and anonymously by 200 current professional footballers (32% black and minority ethnic) from across the Premier League (15%) and Football League (85%).

Sent to every Premier League and Football League club, the consultation saw players answering a wide range of questions on discrimination in football, and the effectiveness of Kick It Out. The results revealed: 

  • 57% of players have witnessed, and 24% have been subjected to, racist abuse in football stadiums. 7% of players have been subjected to, and 20% have witnessed, racist abuse on the training ground or in the dressing room.
  • 39% of players have witnessed, and 3% subjected to, homophobic abuse in football stadiums. 7% of players have been subjected to, and 26% have witnessed, homophobic abuse on the training ground or in the dressing room.
  • 92% of players thought fan on player discrimination was common or extremely common. 80% felt fan on fan was common or extremely common. 50% thought player on player discrimination was extremely rare or rare. 39% thought player on player discrimination was common or extremely common.
  • 69% of players felt that, due to their profession, they are more exposed to abuse, with 91% agreeing that social media has led to an increase in them receiving discriminatory abuse. They felt these platforms must be policed and monitored more effectively.
  • 65% of players are aware of reporting procedures and are comfortable informing either the Premier League or Football League, the PFA, their club, agent and Kick It Out. They feel The FA and Police should have quicker and more consistent responses with harsher penalties for both fans and players. They also believe that there should be better education for fans who are found guilty.
  • 52% of players agreed that there was an issue around the lack of black and minority ethnic managers and coaches. 62% felt mandatory shortlisting should be in place for black and minority ethnic candidates applying for non-playing jobs in football. 70% believed there should be greater transparency around the recruitment of managers and coaches, and how appointments are made.
  • 86% of players agreed there needs to be an anti-discrimination campaign in football, with 89% saying that they will support future Kick It Out initiatives and events.
  • 92% felt Kick It Out has been effective in raising awareness of racism in football, and 71% agreed the campaign has been effective in tackling the issue. 67% felt Kick It Out has been effective in raising awareness of other issues of discrimination in football, and 55% agreed the campaign has been effective in tackling the issues.
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Tagged in: Equalities News Racism


Following the lead of Harvard students, a group of Oxford University Black and Minority Ethnic students launched “I, too, am Oxford

The group explained that their project was “inspired by the recent ‘I, too, am Harvard’ initiative. The Harvard project resonated with a sense of communal disaffection that students of colour at Oxford have with the University. The sharing of the Buzzfeed article ‘I, too, am Harvard’ on the online Oxford based race forum, ‘Skin Deep’ led to students quickly self organising a photoshoot within the same week. A message that was consistently reaffirmed throughout the day was that students in their daily encounters at Oxford are made to feel different and Othered from the Oxford community. Hopefully this project will demonstrate that despite there being a greater number of students of colour studying at Oxford now than there has ever been before, there are still issues that need to be discussed. In participating in ‘I, too, am Oxford,’ students of colour are demanding that a discussion on race be taken seriously and that real institutional change occur.”

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Tagged in: Equalities News Racism


Above is Samina's photo from the the "I Speak for Myself"campaign, a travelling exhibition displaying hundreds of the messages captured during Amina's roadshow and which aims to tackle misconceptions and common stereotypes about Muslim women, thus reducing inequality and sexual discrimination not only within the Muslim community but also in the wider society.

“This was about Muslim women sharing their messages with fellow Scots."

“The messages talk about all the things that women talk about, regardless of their race and religion. In their own words they say, ‘This is who I am’.”

For her inspirational quote Samina chose the words of Mother Teresa.

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Vuyelva Mpongoshe

Vuyelva Mpongoshe

I think it is time to end violence against women. It's time to end hunger and poverty, we need to empower all women. Women should get access to education, training, science and technology.

We should have equal rights and the same opportunities as men. Men and women should unite to end violence against women and girls, women should have the right to make decisions at work or in a relationship. Women should be able to plan for the future.

I remember the time my mother was suffering in silence because she didn't know anything about her rights or where to go for help. This was in Africa where there are no facilities to help people to fight for their rights.

This women’s day makes me to remember the time there was a shame in my family. My father was a farm worker for years, one day the owner of the farm accused my father of stealing his goods and he was arrested. The same day, the farmer told our mother to leave his farm. When our mother asked him where she should go at this time with seven children and all of her belongings he told my mother that it was not his business and that he wanted to put someone new in our house that same night.

We spent our night on the street without food and drink. My mother’s last born was 8 months, we couldn't even help our mother because we were still too young. I think I was 12 years old girl. Our mother was full of tears and sadness in her face but, she had to be strong for us.

I grew up thinking about what happened to my family and have asked myself where was the humanity? Where was the humanity for the woman with seven children?  To be thrown out by the farmer at that time of the night, to have to sleep on the street with seven children. How on earth could people destroy other people's lives like that? No one was born to suffer like the way our mother was suffering.

I hope for changes because things like that are still happening. Enough is enough. 

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Rehana Faqir

The quotes that inspire me:

“I have been working for so many years and women still don’t get equal pay”

“Women's chains have been forged by men, not by anatomy.” ~ Estelle R Ramsey.

“Women are not inherently passive or peaceful, we're not inherently anything but human.” ~ Robin Morgan.

“If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?” ~ Mary Astell

“Nobody objects to a women being a good writer or a sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dresses, well groomed and unaggressive.”  ~ Marya Mannes

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Judy Wasige

My residence in Scotland the last 10 years has made me realise that irrespective of country, community problems are the same, only described by context relevant terms and analogies. Being Kenyan, I in my wildest dreams could never have imagined that poverty would make up part of Europe’s fabric. Through experience, mainly influenced by my daughter’s involvement with a food bank in Glasgow, this view has been altered. In responding to food shortages for families due to the recession and the resultant  job losses and unfavourable government welfare policies, the woman in her, like many other women around the world have done and continue to do, took it upon herself to sort out the problem using the only means available to her. She fasted for 7 days; a whole 7 days without food, only water and tea.

Initially, I thought she would last a maximum of 4 days and then give up. I watched keenly and waited…

Come day 5, I was very concerned; she looked weak, tired and complained about a lack of sleep and concentration in class.

By day 6 she had lost 10 pounds. I wanted her to give up and had my phone on standby, expecting a call from the emergency services.

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Anu Roy  

Feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller

We say to girls: ‘You can have ambition, but not too much

You should aim to be successful, but not too successful

Otherwise, you will threaten the man’

Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage

I am expected to make my life choices

Always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important

Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support

But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage

And we don’t teach boys the same?

We raise girls to see each other as competitors

Not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing

But for the attention of men

We teach girls that they cannot be sexual being the way that boys are

Feminist: a person who believes in the social

Political, and economic equality of the sexes”


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Sangeeta Kaur

The women of my faith have been given the status of royalty. ‘Kaur’, meaning ‘princess’, is the second name adopted by every female Sikh. They are encouraged to use it proudly, whilst men are taught to treat them as the name dictates.

The women of my life are real princesses. They are the embodiment of virtue, integrity and true beauty. They have strength beyond measure and love beyond limits. They have endured more than I can say, yet their resolve remains firm each and every day.

My mother, grandmother, aunts, sisters and friends, are the light of my life. They have taught me the meaning of courage, perseverance and compassion through their kind words and brave actions.

However, the women of the world have suffered through oppression, and have been degraded. They have endured the pains of inequality and unfair treatment. They were subjected to abuse and their voices were silenced.

And yet, they fought. They demanded equal rights. They demanded an equal status for themselves, and they demanded to be recognised as the beautiful beings they are. They have progressed, inspired change, and continue to promote justice and love.

I am indebted to each and every woman that has challenged the world. Every woman that has lived and loved has coloured the world with compassion.

They continue to enlighten humankind.

They continue to inspire me.

Because of them, I am here, and I am me.

"Man is born from a woman; within woman, man is conceived; to a woman he is engaged and married. 
Man is friends with woman; through woman, the future generations exist. 
When the woman passes away, he seeks another woman; to a woman a man is bound. 
So why call her bad? 
From her, kings are born. From a woman, woman is born; without woman there would be no one at all" 
Guru Nanak Dev Ji
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Each year on the 8th March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. As UN Women explains, “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Inspiring Change”. When I think of inspiration or inspiring women, I do not have to think much further than the women who are currently participating in CRER’s Political Shadowing Scheme.

Some of them have crossed many borders to provide themselves and their families with a better life, some of them have worked in the shadows of great men and are now raising their voices to lead instead, some have defied their families and tradition and have sought an education, some work tirelessly in their communities and at the end of the day return home to start their other full-time job as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.

I asked them to share with me what inspires them to challenge the status quo for women’s equality and demand positive change.

Read the powerful responses in their individual blog posts: Sangeeta KaurRehana FaqirAnu RoyJudy WasigeVuyelva Mpongoshe, Samina Ansari


“No one should have to dance backwards all their lives.” ~Jill Ruchelshaus

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