It will be chaired by Vik Chechi-Ribeiro, North West Black Organising Forum representative. The webinar will centre on systemic racism and Covid-19, solidarity across borders, and the role of education. Thousands of educators are expected on the call.
The Reverend Jackson said: “Reality – the pandemic, mass unemployment, extreme inequality, institutionalized racism, climate change – can’t be addressed without fundamental change. But it will still require citizen mobilization and pressure to overcome the resistance to change – and to counter the reaction that surely will follow. Educators, Black and white, all have a new moment in time to be part of the solution.” (1)
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, who will also speak at the webinar, said:
“Reverend Jackson stood alongside Martin Luther King in the 60s and has fought tirelessly for civil rights and now, nearly 60 years later, to all of our shame, we must once again stand alongside Black brothers and sisters to tackle systemic racism, to achieve justice and peace.”
Daniel Kebede, Senior Vice President of the NEU, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Reverend Jackson and Diane Abbott MP for supporting the NEU’s anti-racist work in education. We are determined to achieve an inclusive education system that prepares our young people for a more just and equal future. Reform of the curriculum to ensure it embraces Black and global history, more Black school and college leaders, and a dismantling of racism must be the goal for education in the 2020s. Our landmark decolonising education conference in December 2019 will build on these goals and help make them become a reality.”
Earlier this week the NEU called on the Government to:
- Review the curriculum to ensure it embraces the fact that Britain is rooted in Black and global history, achievement and culture and includes the achievements of Black Britons; as recommended by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
- Commit to review Initial Teacher Training to equip all trainee teachers with anti-racist strategies and tools, for the benefit of all students.
- Adopt a strategy to make the pipeline of new entrants to the teaching profession significantly more diverse over the next four years.
- Learn from the Windrush Review and develop a Department for Education plan to teach about the history of the UK and its relationship to the rest of the world – including Britain's colonial history and the history of migration.
- Provide immediate advice to employers in the education sector about the racial disparities in the pandemic in order to minimise risks to the wellbeing and safety of Black workers and the communities in which they live, work and travel.
This term, the NEU will launch an anti-racist framework to respond to the experiences of Black children and Black staff and to help education staff develop anti-racist approaches.
- Interview with Rev. Jesse Jackson, The Nation, 11 June 2020.
- NEU statement on Black Lives Matter protests, 10 June 2020.