Monday, 29 February 2016

 "NAPO Trade Union General Sec Sexual Abuses Black Woman" 

Former NAPO General Secretary Jonathan Ledger guilty of serious sexual harassment of black female work colleague.

Napo in their announcement on their website claim that they have apologised to the employee, but this is a deliberate lie. Judge Mark Emerton, acknowledge this was not an apology and stated that on the day of the Remedy Hearing 31/1/2014

Even though the victim was a long-standing member of Unite Union she faced a 'wall of silence', when seeking representation and therefore was forced to self-fund the case herself 

The Claimant's barrister in his submission summarised to the Tribunal that, 'the little value that is attached to the evidence of black women, even the most senior and established ones, demonstrates that racism and sexism is still inherent in the court system. 

In dismissing the majority of her claims including 'unfair dismissal', the court demonstrated its willingness to believe the words of a repeat sexual harasser who continually changed his story right up until the last minute over the consistent evidence of a female victim.' The victim is now considering options as to how she can attract support for her case against NAPO in the Court of Appeal.

BARAC provides support to victims of racism or discrimination in the workplace.  2010 saw the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) General Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Ledger resign his post. He had been conducting the most repugnant and disgusting campaign of gross sexual harassment of a senior black woman NAPO official.

Ledger was found guilty by a Employment Tribunal of three serious counts of sexual harassment between June and September 2010. The Tribunal also reported, that based on the evidence presented, it's view on a fourth allegation( that Ledger exposed himself and masturbated in front of the victim ) did take place as alleged on the 4 March 2010, but as the claim was poorly presented, they were unable to rule on that particular claim.

The remedy hearing was heard on 30th and 31st of January 2014 and reporting restrictions lifted.
Lee Jasper co chair of the campaigning organisation Black Activist Against The Cuts ( BARAC ) who provided support to the victim said,

" Jonathan Ledger, former General Secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers conducted a " Jimmy Saville " like reign of terror targeting vulnerable women working in NAPO.  The senior officers of NAPO despite being aware of a history of complaints simply colluded to hound and demonise a black woman colleague with a degree of evil intent that had to be seen to be believed."

He added, " Among the NAPO Executive one man consistently challenged Ledger and provided support to his victims. That man was Harry Fletcher whose resolute stand on this issue was outstanding, NAPO had a fine history of challenging racism and sexism. In the 80/90's They were the leading pioneers in challenging workplace discrimination.

This once proud Union has descended into a cesspit of racism and sexism. Rank and file members will be outraged that they have so terribly let down by a cabal of white trade unionists who have clouded with the activities of their General Secretary, a powerful white man who ruthless and brazenly assaulted women in the organisation.

The victim has reported her complaints catalogued in her work and personal diaries to the 
Metropolitan Police. The Police have been notified of similar complaints involving Jonathan Ledger 
from a number of women who worked in London Probation between 1998 and 2000. The police will support any women with similar complaints involving this individual should they come forward.

The TUC needs to conduct a thorough and transparent public inquiry into this whole matter ensuring the Trade Union movement uses these tragic events as an opportunity to revisit, assess and refresh its demand that Trade Unions uphold the highest standards in promoting equality"

A powerful white man has once again been shown to trample all over the policies, constitution rules and of this once proud Union. The current executive are all implicated and BARAC calls on ordinary NAPO members to take a vote of 'no confidence' in all senior NAPO executive members who colluded with and protected Ledger's campaign of sexual terrorism"

Ledger and Wilson (former Chair) were aided and abetted by a NAPO Officers Group, who once they had received an official victim complaint and a letter expressing serious concern from BARAC, then  conspired to sack the complainant on trumped up charges, instead of dealing with her devastating complaint against both Ledger and Wilson.

The details of her complaint revealed that Ledger had constantly and indecently propositioned her, suggesting that she and her young daughter join him in a threesome and showing her naked pictures of his partner stored on his phone and in March 2010 trapping her in his office, unzipping his trousers and masturbating in front of her. Despite her detailed grievance, 

Tim Wilson and the Officers Group that included Ledger decided that they would hear the grievance against themselves, whilst subsequently initiating disciplinary procedures. This well-known ‘management’ tactic of counter allegation on receipt of a grievance is not only unlawful; it also breaks every single rule in the trade union book.

There was a formal challenge about the process and the clear conflicts of interest. Ledger and Wilson rejected these and decided they would personally adjudicate the complaint against themselves, only supported in this despicable act by the cowardly NAPO Officers Group.

When the complainant refused to take part in this charade she was sacked. Indeed, in March 2012, a temporary female employee of NAPO submitted a grievance against Ledger for sexual harassment, including sending her emails and text messages of an explicit sexual nature, using work email and during work hours. Amongst the allegations made by this other female employee was that Ledger put his hand up her skirt and said he wanted to “f*** her until she moaned and groaned.”

Ledger confirmed under cross-examination, inappropriate behaviour towards a third female employee of NAPO (although she did not make a complaint). Ledger who does not smoke and was seen to have taken a cigarette from her mouth, put it in his mouth, lick it and put it back into her mouth.  This was a sexual act to demean a young Muslim woman, who he knew would be reluctant to complain as an administrative worker. Ledger was using NAPO headquarters, as is his personal fiefdom and relied upon his power as General Secretary to bully, intimidate and ensure all such complaints were bought off or buried.

There is one ray of light in this depressing tale. The one NAPO official who has consistently supported the complainant and relentlessly challenged the scandalous behaviour of NAPO officers is Harry Fletcher, himself a white male.


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Market Man:Fantastic track dedicated to my activism over 30 yrs.

Jacqueline Kibacha. Tanzanian Spoken Word Artist: Market Man

Im humbled, delighted and honoured to have my dear friend and supremely talented African spoken word artist, Jacqueline Kibacha  do a track about my 30 year activism.

Press and play this great track right here.

This fantastic track references my early life working as a 15 yrs on a market stall on Tommyfields Market, Oldham. I worked there as a young man in 1973. First on Sat morning and then, later when I left school, full time.

The track talks to my career since then, including the hi-tech media lynching/witch hunt of me by the right wing and mainstream media led by the London Evening Standard in 2007/8.

The genre is one of my favourite styles, roots, rock reggae with some fantastic horn section and bluesy jazz breaks. I would urge you to get this album it really is excellent.

This EP is a rallying call to the victims of domestic violence and its absolutley brilliant.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Art teacher to black pupil: ‘How would you feel if I called you a nigger?’

British schools are supposed to be places where enlightenment and learning should be the order of the day. Place’s where teachers should be leading by example ensuring young people are provided with a positive learning environment helping them understand the world around them through learning, discussion and debate.

United Technical College Elstree is in Borenhamwood, Hertfordshire and is part of the The Mellor Educational Trust whose head offices are in Milbank Tower South London.  

David Mellor (no not that one), is the Chair of this Trust and a firm supporter of the Tory party. Someone who has donated cash to the Minister of Education, Michael Gove’s constituency party and other Tory constituencies parties and who was subsequently appointed a non-executive director for the Department of Education.

The Chair of UTC Elstree is Roger Morris Managing Director of the world famous Elstree Studios.

Now imagine yourself as a young black boy, 16yrs of age, sitting in your art class at UTC Elstree in an all-white class, in a predominantly white school.  

Then, out of the blue, a white male arts teacher points directly to you and says,

‘I don't mean to single you out, but how would you feel if I called you nigger?’

The shock would be visceral and serious offence would be taken. That is precisely what happened at to the son of Ms Claire Thomas at UTC Elstree in November 2014.

This weekend the boy’s mother contacted me and told me what happened during this incident. Both Claire and her son were unhappy with the way the school has dealt with the matter, despite them giving every opportunity to respond positively to their complaint about this incident.

The young man, Claire’s son, who wanted to remain nameless, told me how his ‘mind froze’ when confronted with the question from his arts teacher.

Her son told me ‘I was angry, the class was angry and we just couldn't understand how Mr Ferguson felt it was acceptable for him to say that to me, the only black boy in my class.’

The boy and the class protested bitterly both during and after the lesson. They immediately complained, to a Mr Rice Vice Principal at the school. Mr Ferguson was called to hear the complaint again.

Mr Rice in the course of hearing the boy’s complaint, not only defended his right to use the word, but also continued to use it again and again as the boys were making their complaint. Mr Ferguson personally refused to apologise and went onto tell the group of black boys who gathered to complain ‘ I don’t know what your problem is white man invented this word.’

Mr Frerguson was eventually instructed by Mr Rice to apologise, which he did begrudgingly. The boys challenged Mr Rice saying that Ferguson had only apologised because he’d been told to do so by his senior.

Ms Thomas’s son told me ‘I didn’t believe the apology was really meant or sincere.’

The young boy, completely frustrated and incensed at the schools failure to deal with this matter properly, left the school that day smashing his fist into a table on the way out and badly bruising his hand. Such was the deep anger and humiliation he felt.

Ms Thomas clearly still affected by the incident told me,

 I came home from work that day my son was in a right state. He was visibly upset and frustrated at what had happened. All of his friends at the school were black and white supported him in pointing out to the school just how deeply inappropriate and offensive

Mr Ferguson had been. School is meant to be a place of safety where everyone is equal and not discriminated against but it was not a place of safety for my son on the said day.

Ms Thomas went on,

The school hadn’t even bothered to ring me and tell me what happened, I had to chase this up.  Eventually I demanded a meeting to discuss what had happened to my son. It was obvious the school were trying to play the incident down.’

At a meeting held later at the school that same week, the school apologised stating that Mr Ferguson's comments were nothing other than an, ‘unfortunate and inappropriate outburst.’ 

Ms Thomas told me 'They told me that this incident had made him feel like he'd only just qualified as a teacher because it had knocked his confidence'. Unbelievably the school was trying to portray the teacher as the victim. 

Ms Thomas and her son concluded that UTC Elstree wanted to downplay the incident and sweep it all under the carpet.

The school didn't think the matter was serious. They totally played it down hoping it would go away. That's why they didn't contact me when it happened. This was a very serious incident that I should have been contacted about but it was me that had to chase them for an explanation.

She added,

Given my son was about to leave and go to college we had hoped that this might have been a teachable moment for the school and him. Clearly this has not been the case I'm very disappointed and angry that nothing seems to being done to tackle this teacher.’

She went on, ‘I didn't get the sense they either understood or accepted the seriousness of the situation. They were a new school and I decided to give them a chance so long as they made sure it didn’t happen again’

Ms Thomas had hoped the school would be investigated allowing the school to learn from the incident, ensuring another pupil would have to endure the humiliation of racism at the school. Over a year on and whilst she is aware there was an investigation into the incident, she and her son have heard nothing since.

Interestingly a member of the senior staff at UTC Elstree Mr Mitchell (acting principal) a young white male art teacher seems to have adopted black urban culture to his heart under the name William Stopha.

He can regularly be seen on YouTube beat boxing, rapping and doing spoken word poetry. He also defended Mr Ferguson’s use of the word ‘nigger’ and repeated on numerous occasions, to the group of black students, saying that he uses the word all the time and uses it with his black friends.

What is clear to me is that this teacher and UTC Elstree believes that he and the school are entitled to call a black pupil 'nigger’ with out any apparent consequence.

When the offence was pointed out to them. Senor staffs at UTC Elstree were nothing more than only slightly embarrassed, utterly nonplussed almost defiantly resolute in their sense of entitlement.

Whatever the teacher's views, the action taken by the school should have been in accordance with the highest standards of teaching profession.

Calling a black boy a 'nigger; in the classroom should result in immediate disciplinary investigation and action, unless part of a carefully considered lesson plan relating to the subject of racism. Certainly indiscriminate casual use should result in disciplinary investigation, suspension and possible sacking.

They can be few, if any circumstances other than those described above, in which this word can be used, and directed at a black boy, in a majority white school, without serious consequence for the teacher.

Neither the Board of Governors of UTC Elstree, chaired by Roger Morris millionaire owner of the local Elstree Studios, nor his senior management team have handled this matter with the degree of sensitivity and seriousness that such a serious incident deserves.

It is frankly appalling that this teacher can, it seems not only use such poisonous racial rhetoric in the classroom, then shamelessly defend his use of the word, then go on to use it again and still remain without proper sanction from the school itself.

All over the country there are many such Black and Asian children in this difficult position of being one of the few black children in their schools.

It is in these situations where schools race equality policy, understanding of multiculturalism, experienced teachers and heads are relied upon to have the political commitment and cultural competencies necessary to understand the dynamics faced by young Black and Asian people trying to negotiate, prosper succeed and survive in an environment when either they, their culture and/or history may not be well understood.

It is in these environments where robust race equality policy, experienced teachers and a dynamic school Principle can make all the difference as to whether isolated Black and Asian children survive and thrive.

We all know the statistics that point to failure of British schools to successfully educate some black and ethnic minority children. The exclusion of boys from British schools has long been a scar on the face of British education and has remained consistently disproportionate over the last 30 years.

One can only imagine the furore had this young man had reacted in the wrong way to such insult and provocation.

Excluded? Certainly. Police called and being charged with an criminal offence? Quite possibly. An incident that could affect the young man for life? Most certainly.

In recent years, due to changes in education policy and the advent of Free schools and Academies we know less about exclusions issue today than we did in the 1980’s when local authorities and all schools were forced to publish their exclusion figures.

Today that is no longer a requirement and as a result its impossible to tell how many Black and ethnic minority children are being excluded from Free schools and Academies, many of whom have no effective equality policies, no equality monitoring framework and no understanding of commitment to the Public Sector Equality Duty as outlined within the Human Rights Act and Race Relations legislations.

The danger here is that a teacher with no real experience of back youth or understanding of black culture can have a hugely negative affect on young black minds who are attuned and understand the realities of racism in Britain. Teachers must be culturally competent and sensitive when dealing with Black and Asian young people when discussing black culture or the realities of radicalisation through the Prevent agenda. 

This disgraceful incident at UTC is bad enough however over the next few weeks I will be writing an update describing how this incident has played out and had a huge effect on the school, the teachers and pupils. Watch this space.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Launch of Sarah Reed Justice Campaign

Watch the launch of the Sarah Reed Justice Campaign organised by Britain's only black led social movement  Blaksox.


Join the Sarah Reed Justice Campaign and Support the Protect The Prisoner Protest calling for an end to intimidation faced by Holloway prisoners in the run up to and in the immediate aftermath of Sarah's death.

@Justice4SLReed @_Blaksox

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Sarah Reed Important Update.

Read this moving account of the circumstances surrounding the death of Sarah Reed as recounted by her mother Marylin in what is a harrowing tale of pain and tragedy as reported by the Guardian  newspaper

There is an emergency protest taking place on Tuesday 22nd February 2016 at Holloway Prison between 7pm and 8.30pm. For more info follow Sarah Reed Justice Campaign on Facebook 

#SarahRead #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter

Friday, 12 February 2016

Blaksox: Britains first black led social movement launch 20th February 2016.

Change makers: A date for your diary book your place Blaksox launch 20th February 2016 right here.

This unique social movement has emerged from the tragedy of teenage violence on London streets and the economic exclusion that gives rise to increased rates of violence and is in the tradition of he Black Lives Matter global movement. At community meetings following the brutal murder of a number of black London teenagers, communities came together in Lewisham, Lambeth, Hackney and Haringey in a series of public meetings and marches demanding an end to the violence.

The overwhelming demand from young people was that their elders do much more to support their efforts to stop the violence in our communities.  They wanted an end to the dependency culture that saw endless grant applications for social projects. In the context of austerity it is clear that such a strategy of state funded interventions to tackle violence in our communities cannot alone solve the problem that we now face.

These are our children and it is our sole responsibility to take whatever action is necessary in order that our children can walk the streets in peace and safety and enjoy economic opportunity that is currently denied to many and makes them vulnerable to seduction into violence.  This is often a tactic for self-preservation. Young people petrified of becoming a victim of violent crime then begin to band together in the face of acute failure of police services to secure and gain their trust and confidence.

Stop and search, police brutality, deaths in police custody, disproportionate drug enforcement policies, institutional racism and the dreaded Joint Enterprise law means that calling the police is not an option for many young people.

This movement is self financed seeded with an initial donation by a community who are determined to offer a viable vehicle for change. A movement whose core funding is provided by our own communities.  Our aims are to develop youth leadership, provide expertise briefings, and offer personal development and professional accreditation training in an effort to increase capacity, deepen and broaden relations and resilience within our communities.

The organisation is attracting widespread support. just look in the number of logo's on the conference flyer.

Our social action agenda includes providing critical support for the victim’s families of teenage murder and violence.  We are seeking to assemble and fund are own team of counselors, youth workers, lawyers and advocates that can provide much-needed expertise, and the love and support for families who face this usually daunting and complex statutory agencies processing procedures that follow in the wake of teenage murder.

These processes can be frustrating and bewildering to many families. Some have financial concerns in relation to organising the funeral for their loved one. 

Some have concerns about the quality of the police investigation; some concerns about the possibility of violent retribution, some just need somebody to talk to a shoulder to lean on.

Blaksox has developed the Nine Night Project that seeks to re-establish the cultural tradition of providing pastoral care, emotional and financial support by providing nine days and nights of intensive care and support for the families of victim’s teenage murder.  We are calling on the community to do two things provide financial support to make the project happen and to donate their time to our Blaksox time back, so that we can assemble a Nine Night task force to go into troubled communities.  In addition the project will address the issue of public trauma amongst friends and local communities, schools, colleges and faith groups in a public call for an end to the violence.

By adopting a public health approach that treats violence as a contagious virus we hope to take the message into local communities in the aftermath of a teenage murder that violence in our communities is a literal deadly cancer in our midst.

Violence distorts and degrades our communities.  If there is violence on the streets is because there is violence in the home.   Youth violence cannot be separated from domestic violence, child sex abuse, elderly abuse or indeed any other form of violence in our communities.

This is a self-funded community intervention that will restore pride and integrity in our communities. Will provide much-needed critical support for the victims of violent crime and provide collective trap for but the moral consensus of both young and old wish to live in safe violent free communities.  This unique conference offers you an opportunity to become involved with people who are pursuing our paradigms shift in thinking about prioritising the lives of our young people in an effort to encourage the development of safe and secure communities