Join Up, Join In

BAME VOICE #1

Let’s be a positive voice   ¦   Let’s be united   ¦   Let’s be welcoming   ¦   Let’s bring respect back in our communities   ¦   Let’s engage young people

It is our Labour Party as well!

Change is coming. It’s coming in British society because Labour is changing for the better. True to its tradition, Labour is about to become the vehicle that will lead to the tranformation of the United Kingdom.

We are Blacks, Asians and many other minorities. As members or supporters of the Labour Party, we have to lead the movement for change to ensure that our country works for minorities too.

Bouba, Imaan, Asim, George, Learie, Raza and Pratik met in the evening of Friday 14 September to talk about:

  • The place of minorities in Labour and how to make the Party work for us as well
  • The Labour democracy review and an outcome with a big emphasis on self-determination
  • The path to becoming a councillor and the coming elections
  • Various other topics that impact our lives as minorities

You will notice that the word “ethnic” has not been used so far. Following an etymology and history lesson from Learie, we discussed the relevance of this word in our day and age. Does it separate us more than it brings us together? Can we persuade our government to stop using the word ‘ethnic’ as it brings connotations of a deep-rooted racism stemmed from the ancient Greeks.

At the end of the conversation we realised that we had more in common that devides us. United we stand, divided we fall. By sharing our respective stories and anecdotes, we reminded ourselves of the importance of positivity, unity, inclusiveness, respect and young people influences in our past victories. That is why we made these principles the foundations of the movement we will create in Reading, and make Labour work for us.


We all agreed that self-determination is key to building a meaningful movement. Bouba summarised the current outcome of the Labour Democracy Review for BAME, and everyone was very pleased with the current direction it is taking. We talked at length about the value of only letting BAME members voting for BAME only issue and how that can only work with increased participation.

People were also surprised that there was no data in regards to Labour BAME membership. So the announcement that new members would soon be able to self-define at registration was welcomed. Following George suggestions, we also decided to find ways to build our own database for existing members.


With a wider base of active Labour BAME members, the next step is to increase the pool of potential councillors, as that will lead to more councillors and maybe some day an MP from Reading. As even the DailyMail has to acknowledge, the current Labour Frontbench is the most diverse ever, and that can only a source of hope – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6163071/Jeremy-Corbyn-surrounded-diverse-MPs-PMQs-Parliament.html

We went through the application form and the role and duties of a councillor to show that it is accessible to anyone with a passion for positive change. If she is 18 by the next election, Imaan will definitely be a strong candidate and she already knows that her dad, Asim, has got her back, which is truly beautiful.


We ended the meeting with more history lessons about Reading various communities from Learie. It was so inspirational that Raza shared that he makes short movies and it would be great to use his expertise to give Learie an opportunity to share his wisdom with a wider audience through filming.

This first meeting is only the beginning of a journey and we already have the date for the next which we would love for your to come along. We also agreed that we would all bring at least one more person to the next meeting. Finally, we agreed that crisps, sweets and chocolate are all nice as snack but a fruity option is a must.


Be part of the change that is coming

 

Join us for the next BAME VOICE

Friday 12th October 2018

7pm at RISC

Join us on Facebook * to confirm your attendance

Or email bame@readinglabour.org

And follow us on Twitter @rdlpBAME

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