May 26, 2021
From Stand Up To Racism (UK)

NHS workers at University College London Hospital (UCLH) held a lunchtime #TakeTheKnee protest on the steps of the hospital
Unison lit up its HQ to mark its support for the #TakeTheKnee TUC & SUTR day of action
#TakeTheKnee in Peckham, south London

See full picture gallery here

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) & Stand Up To Racism held a week of action that culminated on 25 May, the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by Minneappolis police officer Derek Chauvin, with mass #TakeTheKnee action across England, Scotland and Wales.

The week of action saw 300 trade unionists join a TUC and SUTR mobilising meeting on 17 May, and 300 join a major international rally on 22 May. It was to commemorate George Floyd’s murder 1 year on, and crucially, it was also about focussing the anti racist movement on its need to continue to demand action and force change on institutional racism and police violence.

Anti racists taking part were pointing to the lack of justice for all those who have died at the hands of the police, and protests made sure to #SayTheirNames

This was just one aspect of the fact that the #UKisNotInnocent, #ScotlandIsNotInnocent and that we need to keeping fighting for #BlackLivesMatter ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻✊

The westminster governement has responded to the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has made history, by condeming it. It has responded by commissioning a whitewash report denying the existence of institutional racism, introducing more powers for the police and attacking the right to protest. It has repsonded by pushing through cruel and horrific policy on immigration and implementing a wave of dawn raids – starting with the city that has one of the proudest traditions of defeating dawn raids through mass united community action. The fact that a black and white community united in Glasgow’s Pollokshields stopped a Home Office immigration van leaving and forced the release of their neighbours shows what a strong anti racist movement can do. On 25 May we came together to #TakeTheKnee to commemorate George Floyd, but also to galvanise and grow that movement in his honour.

On the day itself, 25 May, it couldn’t have been a more fitting day to hear the report from the enquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party showed it to be institutionally Islamophobic, further underlining why it is so important to continue to mobilise to fight racism engrained in the establishment. And only the next day, it was revealed that Boris Johnson was set to welcome far right antisemite and Islamophobe Viktor Orbàn to Downing Street the very same week.

Across the country, in workplaces – schools, colleges, hositals, firestations, council buildings – workers organised collectively to #TakeTheKnee, and on the streets in communities in around 50 towns, cities and local areas #TakeTheKnee protests took place at 6pm, with #GeorgeFloyd trending on Twitter during the TUC & SUTR Twitterstorm.

The TUC call saw powerful #TakeTheKnee action across firestations by Fire Brigade Union (FBU), and #TakeTheKnee by National Education Union (NEU), Educational Insitute Scotland (EIS) & University College Union (UCU) in schools and colleges. NHS workers cane to #TakeTheKnee outside hospitals to highlight disproportionate deaths in covid. There was a brillant show from Unison with actions across councils and the health service, and the HQ light up. Other fantastic support from unions included the Public & Commercial Services union (PCS), Rail Maritime & Transport union (RMT), GMB, the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), ASLEF, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Musicians Union (MU) and many #TakeTheKnee workplace actions in hospitals by the Chartered Society of Physiologists (CSP), and many more.

This amazing support was part of seeing #GeorgeFloyd trending today in Britain – which is important because we need to build and deepen the anti racist movement to take on institutional racism and demand action, and demand change.

Stand Up To Racism has announced the date for its international conference in the Autumn, Saturday 16 October. Book you place now here