Today is National Slavery Memorial Day and UNISON is working with Anti-Slavery International to both honour the struggle of slaves for freedom and to continue the fight against racism and exploitation today.
The transatlantic slave trade was one of the most horrific crimes in human history, with well over 10 million people forcibly transported and subjected to utterly inhuman conditions. Several million people were directly murdered and hundreds of millions of people lives remain affected by the legacy of this terrible crime.
Slavery Memorial Day helps to educate us all about one of the most odious episodes in history, and illustrate the horrors which gave birth to the poison of anti-Black racism.
Some people argue that such memorial days serve no purpose. I would argue that this view is misguided. For example Holocaust Memorial Day has played an extremely valuable role not only in marking the holocaust itself but also in educating new generations, and challenging anti-Semitism.
I hope a growing number of organisations will raise awareness of National Slavery Memorial Day and try to promote what people can do to get more involved.