The fight against racism and fascism was firmly on the agenda as the TUC kicked off its annual conference in Liverpool yesterday. A debate on the BNP was followed by a Not in our name vigil involving all delegates.
The conference was also addressed by Gee Walker, mother of murdered Liverpool teenager Anthony Walker. In a deeply moving speech, she told the conference:
"My son and what happened to him is the result of extreme racism. I know that if he was white he would still be alive today. When hate destroyed my son's dream, our community in Liverpool, in the UK and indeed the world was outraged and shocked. We were left devastated and we still are. The positives are that, at that time, we all embraced cohesion and diversity in all its forms. It was a time when race, religion and class and even our own football teams, Everton and Liverpool, sat side by side comforting each other at Anthony's funeral. Unfortunately, that was short-lived and already a lot seems to have forgotten my Anthony already and they have resorted back to their own comfort zones."
Gee's speech should be a timely reminder of the pressing need to combat racism and fascism wherever it raises its head. And with the election of two BNP MEPs the trade union movement gave its committment to do everything in its power to challenge hatred and racism in the workplace and wider community.
HOPE not hate