REPORT: Manchester Confronting the Rise in Racism Summit Saturday 13 May

Reggae legend Basil Gabbidon from Steel Pulse opened the Summit.

Basil performed with Steel Pulse in Alexander Park, Moss Side at the Rock Against Racism Carnival in 1978. At the 2017 Summit, Basil helped lead the Love Music Hate Racism workshop. Plans are afoot for an LMHR event in Manchester.

‘What is racism?’

Speaking for the human rights group RAPAR, Henrietta, a refugee seeking asylum in Britain, gave a powerful and moving testimony.

‘I am an anti racist and and anti fascist,’ said Paula Barker, NW Unison Convener, bringing union support to the Summit

Dawn Taylor, from the NUT, and Joe Mcneill, from UCU also spoke.

Eleven year old Tamira spoke of the impact of the education cuts across the city.

Emma Martin from the Save Our Schools Campaign explained how the ‘The National Funding formulae is racist. All schools face cuts of at leaest 7%. But inner city schools will be hit the hardest. Help for children with language needs, support for refugee children, all will be cut. And its teaching assistants, many of whom are black or muslim who are set to lose their jobs.’

‘I was humbled to be at the Stand Up to Racism Summit in Manchester.’ Cllr Yasmin Dar spoke of the need to unite.

‘Powerful testimonies of appalling racism experienced in UK since Brexit referendum,’ said Julie Ward MEP. Julie spoke of the Romany experiance, and the racism they are resisting.

Dpac activist Rob Punton wrote a special poem for the Summit

“Ukip are racist! How dare they tell Muslim women what to wear. Racism divides us. We must stand united,” Naima Omar.

‘I am not a bargaining chip’ explained #RoaringNurse Joan Pons Laplanaat in a workshop on Defending EU Migrant workers. He was joined by Alec and others from the Spanish migrant group Marea Granate.

Speaking for the Jewish/Muslim Forum, Cllr Heather Fletcher talked about how anti-semitism was ‘the oldest form of racism.’

She explained how there had been a spike in anti semitism at the time of the war in Gaza. ‘But I am not responsible for the actions of Netanyahu the Israeli leader,  ‘it wrong for Jews to get the blame. Many of us disagree with what he is doing.’

Brian Richardson from Stand Up To Racism gave an overview of the fight against racism today.

The “police were not held to account for murdering my brother, Christopher,” explained Janet Alder. ‘Today we need to unite and fight racism.’

Musicians and artists from Birmingham Love Music Hate Racism ended the Summit with ‘Get up! Stand Up!’

‘A Wonderful day yesterday at the Northwest Stand Up To Racism summit, Dr Kerry Pimbott, historian of the Black experience in the U.S. and Diaspora. University of Manchester.