A campaigning Vice President, for a campaigning Party
I was a 100/200m Sprinter. Catastrophe struck in my early 20's when my achilles tendon ruptured. For 20 months I was in a wheelchair. I needed wheelchair-friendly public transport to hospital and the inadequacy of it shocked me. It made me realise that everyone has a choice. When you see something that’s wrong, do you leave it for someone else, or do you fight for change?
I decided to fight for change. I set up a transport company and, eventually, was transporting 5,000 vulnerable children and adults in wheelchair accessible vehicles. I got involved in drafting the Private Hire Vehicles Act and helped lead the campaign for cab safety. I delivered contracts to the 2012 London Paralympics. I was named in the Black Power List.
But throughout my life I experienced racism and saw it blight so many people’s lives. I have spent years fighting racism.
I provided a campaign bus for Operation Black Vote and helped thousands to register to vote. In 2015 I was the founding chair of the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality. We established the RDC to develop ethnic minority candidates.
I was disappointed that, after John Alderdice’s report on race diversity, the party did nothing. So when the Thornhill Review was set up I, as Chair of LDCRE, sent in a submission.
We need to recognise that the ethnic minority vote is so substantial, that we cannot win without ethnic minority communities. If you ignore 40% of a constituency you are giving your local party a target of reaching 60% of the white vote.
Our recommendations were published in the Thornhill Review. Still the party failed to implement it. I then piloted an amendment to the strategy motion at the federal conference and committed the Party to act.
That is why I’m now standing for Vice-President: if elected I will make the party implement that strategy. John Alderdice and Dorothy Thornhill are supporting me.
I have rolled up my sleeves to show how it’s done – in just the last year I helped Anton Georgiou win a 29% swing in Brent; helping Nancy Jirira win Fortune Green, building support for Gareth Roberts in Hounslow and helping demolish the Labour vote in the C&A by-election. I have advised the Scottish Lib Dems and campaigned in Wales.
Change can't wait
Ensure that the Party implements the Alderdice and Thornhill reviews. I will make the party launch a national campaign to encourage and assist local parties to:
- reach out to ethnic minority communities
- include these communities in canvassing targets during elections
- establish their key concerns and campaign on them
- continue to campaign for the rights of women and LGBT+ ethnic minorities
- recruit ethnic minority members
- gain ethnic minority votes and make our party better reflect the diversity of the society we wish to represent
I will give you the tools to become more diverse, confident, and vote-winning. For further information see my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1118017102271737
Change can’t wait. I hope you will vote for me for Vice-President.