18 July is Mandela Day, which acknowledges Nelson Mandela's values, dedication to the service of humanity and struggle for peace throughout the world. UNISON North West will once again honour Mandela Day by taking part in the My67 campaign.
Nelson Mandela’s fight for justice began in 1942 and for 67 tireless years he continued to fight for social justice and human rights. The My67 programme encourages people to give 67 minutes of their day to help someone else, ideally on Mandela Day (18 July) or during Mandela Week (12-18 July)
It is a day where Nelson Mandela’s life’s work is celebrated annually through acts of kindness and 67 ways for people of all ages to get involved are suggested in the Mandela Day Resource Pack. You can also download a range of resources from the Nelson Mandela Day website.
In recent years, several UNISON branches took part in Mandela My67. In 2019, UNISON Liverpool worked with Liverpool City Council and the Inclusive Cities project to pay for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers to undertake a free 67 minute taster session at local leisure services. The branch also distributed 67 free passes to Liverpool's leisure facilities which allowed 2 months free entry.
UNISON Liverpool Branch Secretary Babs Hennessy said at the time: "Liverpool City UNISON branch are proud to be involved in the My67 project and to help celebrate Nelson Mandela's birthday."
UNISON Merseytravel organised a 67 minute concert by a local choir and dedicated 67 minutes to securing donations for local food banks.
Then in 2020, our branches got creative and still managed to have a positive impact on their communities during the pandemic. Liverpool Hospitals’ Health branch secretary Su Edwards raised £700 for the L6 hub by holding a sponsored silence! Whilst 67 food parcels were donated to the local food bank and books were donated to the community resource centre.
Meanwhile, Salford City UNISON held an equalities discussion relating to Mandela Week featuring speakers including Sonia Bassey MBE (Mandela8 Campaign), Cllr Sharmina August (Salford City Council), Nahella Ashraf (Stand up to Racism) and Shay Brown (TransActual).
Finally, a regional webinar took place which discussed Mandela’s legacy, UNISON’s role in the anti-apartheid movement and anti-racist campaigns since then, the Black Lives Matter movement, the challenges facing us today and the next steps for trade unions in tackling racism.
UNISON North West Publicity and Campaigning committee chair Steve Gwilt said: “UNISON North West is proud to support Mandela Day. Nelson Mandela’s tireless fight for social justice is a source of inspiration for many UNISON activists up and down the country.
“The My67 project is incredibly worthwhile and it has been pleasing to see levels of participation in My67 by North West branches increase year on year. I encourage all branches to consider how they can use the Mandela Day My67 project to reconnect with their local community this year.”
This year, Mandela Week will again take place in the context of the pandemic and so the way we honour Nelson Mandela's legacy will be different, but never has it been more important to bring our communities together.
Ideas for how your branch can take part in Mandela My67:
- Organise a virtual community event in Mandela's memory in order to bring people together.
- Donate funds or resources to those in need in your local community.
- Do a 67 minute activity to raise money for a charity e.g. sponsored silence or sponsored run.
- Spend 67 minutes with isolated or lonely people in your community (in a socially distanced way or virtually).
- Give away 67 spaces for a local activity to those who may not be able to afford it.
- Film a 67 second video about what Mandela means to you and why you are supporting My67.
- Get in touch with your employer about their plans for My67.
Be creative! If you are interested in taking part then please contact Lynne Morris: [email protected]