Aleya and Janice attended the Unison National Black Members’ Conference in Brighton, which was held on 6-8 February. Their report is below.
We attended the ‘Black members’ – defending public services’ conference in February, which was a three day event.
This conference takes place annually, and it was the first time AQA had sent representatives. The number of delegates attending was 620, which was the largest in 30 years (including Europe). The Black members want to ensure that there is fairness in society despite social class, colour of skin, disability, sex orientation etc.
Regional meetings were set up which gave us a chance to meet other UNISON members from the North West. Our Chair, Mirza Hamie gave a summary of the past and upcoming campaigns, activities and strategies in the North West.
There was a variety of workshops organised, which delegates could choose to attend. Delegates were encouraged to participate in discussions.
There were a number of guest speakers including Margaret Greer (NBMC Chair), Brian Fitch (Mayor of Brighton & Hove), Dave Prentis (UNISON General Secretary), Lucia McKeever (UNISON President), Geoff Palmer (Professor of Heriot Watt University).
Over the three days there were over 30 Motions submitted by various, groups which delegates were asked to vote on. Almost all the Motions were put forward to the next stage.
A play was put on titled ‘So you think I’m crazy’, which was greatly attended and acted. The play portrayed the effect that mental illness has on family and friends
Although the travelling and having to attend each day was tiring (9am – 9pm), we really enjoyed the event and valued this experience. This has given us an insight to how a UNISON conference runs, and a greater understanding in many topics, where Black members can influence and help shape our society, and give Black members equality.
We hope to attend the next annual conference in 2016.