Monday, June 02, 2008

Operation Black Vote launch in Liverpool

I have blogged before about Operation Black Vote in Liverpool

We have now had the launch in the Town Hall and I am going to be mentoring Caroline Chege who is a young Kenyan woman with tremendous potential. Expect to see and hear a lot about her in the coming months.

The launch was really quite moving. We were in the council chamber and the majority of the guests, filling seats normally reserved for councillors were from the black and ethnic minority communities. I would imagine it may well have been the first time the chamber has ever seen such numbers and it really felt good.

We had speeches from the Lord Mayor, the leaders of the three main parties in Liverpool (LibDem, Labour and Liberal), from the Operation Black Vote National Co-ordinator and founder member, Simon Woolley and from Councillor Anna Rothery, Liverpool's only BME councillor.

Simon was particularly inspirational, referring to the success of Barack Obama in America and saying that he believed our 9 shadow councillors were Barack Obama's in the making.

Joe Anderson, Labour leader made a short but strong speech saying frankly that Liverpool's record in terms of BME representation is very poor and that we must now grasp this chance to become more representative.

Anna spoke emotively of being the only black face in the council chamber and said she hoped that if she was fortunate to be elected to the council again in 2010 then she hoped as she looked round at the following meeting, she would see "people who look like me".

One of the guests at the launch has left her own thoughts on this blog.

The 7 women and 2 men are from many different BME backgrounds, I wish them all every success in their mentoring and hope that at the end of their scheme, they will choose to pursue a goverance role, whether it be a political career in local or national government, a JP or a school governor. Right across the governance spectrum we need more leaders from minority communities.

As I sat and listened to the speeches and as I met the different shadows, I felt both proud and honoured to be involved in this ground-breaking project.

1 comment:

JB said...

Liverpool could surely use its own Barack Obama.

This is a brilliant cause, good on you for backing it.