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In September, Labour members in Lewisham will select our candidate for Mayor. I'm delighted to be shortlisted. But I’m disappointed that in one of the most diverse communities in the country, I’m the only BAME candidate.

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Labour is the party of equality and we have led the way in increasing representation of black and minority ethnic communities in Parliament. But as a party, we need to up our game in local government. In London – the most diverse city in the world – there are just 4 BAME leaders in our 32 boroughs. That needs to change. So, as a fellow Labour BAME member, I'm asking for your help.

Lewisham has been my home for 34 years. It’s where I raised my son as a single mother. I’ve represented my community as a parent governor and as a councillor. I’ve chaired our BAME forum, and our Labour Group. It would be an honour to represent the borough I love as Mayor.

As Mayor, I would seek to tackle the housing crisis, I’d fight poverty, and I’d ensure every young person gets the best start in life. You can find out more about why I’m standing here or you can drop me an email, or call me on 07507083633.

We’ve got 7,000 members to contact, and I want to get my positive message out to all of them. That’s why I’m asking for your help:

  • You can join our Phonebanks - A regularly updated list is here
  • You can join our Super Saturday campaign day this weekend from 12pm until 6pm at 104 Cranston Road, SE23 2EY. If you can’t join on Saturday, you can come to any of our campaign events.
  • You can sign up to volunteer on the campaign 
  • Or, if you can, you can donate here.

I believe I’m the right person for the job. But I also passionately believe that we need to reflect the true diversity of the communities that we represent. So I would be so grateful if you could help in any way you can.

Why I'm running for Lewisham Mayor

In September, Labour members in Lewisham will select our candidate for Mayor. I'm delighted to be shortlisted. But I’m disappointed that in one of the most diverse communities in the...

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My name is Abdi Duale and I am the newly elected London Young Labour BAME Officer. In a city whereby more than half of the population is BAME, the importance of ensuring BAME issues are given more than adequate consideration within the structures of London Young Labour is what encouraged me to stand for it and I look forward to working with the different groups in the Labour Party to help deliver on my campaign priorities.

Various reports have highlighted the mental health stigma that exists within BAME communities, this stigma often leads to long-term mental health illnesses such as schizophrenia and in some cases suicide. A report commissioned by Lankelly Chase Foundation, Mind, The Afiya Trust and Centre for Mental Health highlights that 23% of inpatients on mental health wards or outpatients on Community Treatment Orders were from black and minority ethnic groups and that people from BAME communities are more likely to be diagnosed with severe mental illness than their non-BAME counterparts. In light of this, the London Young Labour BAME Network will for the first time be campaigning alongside different charities and organisations to break down the barriers that exist between young people of colour and mental health services.

Now more than ever is it important that advocates and allies for BAME liberation are best equipped to fight against all forms of racism. It has been particularly tragic that post-Brexit Britain has empowered far right extremists and bigots from across the political spectrum. Such an environment has seen a rise in racially-motivated hate crimes and has fermented a climate of oppression against people of an ethnic minority background - an unacceptable state of affairs. Our young members must be trained and aware of the fight against antisemitism, islamophobia, racism and all other forms of discrimination. For that reason, I have pledged to work closely with the Jewish Labour Movement & BAME Labour to provide training workshops so that our movement is truly anti-racist.

Getting to know all the structures of the party can feel like an impossible task. For many new and current members they can often be off-putting and even appear too complex, a barrier which prevents increased BAME involvement within the party and to the detriment of the Labour Party’s longstanding aim to increase BAME representation. In the summer I shall be hosting the first ever BAME Political Education Day. What this day will encompass is training to ensure our young members have the tools that they need to take up elected roles within the Labour Party and local government. Young members will be equipped with the skills to write speeches, run campaigns and use Nationbuilder to enable them to excel within the party.

I am optimistic that London Young Labour, which now has the most diverse Labour committee in the entire country, will be at the forefront of BAME liberation within the Labour Party. It will be my utmost pleasure to implement all of my campaign pledges over the coming year and I hope it will bring about a lasting change to London Young Labour.

Abdi Duale is a student at the University of Plymouth (London Campus), he studies Oil and Gas Management. Abdi joined the Labour Party after 2015 General Election defeat, he is a party activist and the Youth Officer for Ealing North CLP.

London Young Labour and BAME Liberation

My name is Abdi Duale and I am the newly elected London Young Labour BAME Officer. In a city whereby more than half of the population is BAME, the importance...

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Two years ago, I proposed a motion to the London Young Labour Conference which sought to introduce mandatory positions for black, Asian and other ethnic minority members on its 22-strong elected committee. This Committee represents over 15,000 young Labour Members across London.

Currently, there is only one position for ethnic minorities – the designated BAME Officer – whose responsibility is to ensure that the views of ethnic minorities are heard. Of the outgoing Committee, only four of 22 were from an ethnic minority.

This is despite London being the most diverse city in the UK in which nearly half of its population will be BAME at the end of the decade and ethnic minorities are projected to be the majority of under 24s.

How can we as a political party purport to serve the interests of Londoners but fail to do this in our own house? Especially in a youth organisation which aims to represent the most diverse city in our country.

There is already a rule that at least half of the elected bloc positions should be reserved for self-defining women, with an aim to increase the representation of this group. So there was precedent for affirmative action.

By just two votes that motion failed in 2015. The room was divided. Although there was a comradely debate, I recall two particular contributions from members. The first, a white man, proclaimed "with this [motion for mandatory BAME positions] and seven positions for women, what about us?" The second, from a black man, suggested this move was tokenism, promoting "special treatment".

I was not surprised by these contributions but I was disappointed that they came from Labour members. As a party, Labour prides itself on equality, extending opportunity to those who wouldn't otherwise have it; promoting progressive politics; being the voice of the ostracised. Identity politics is our politics.

Young Labour still has issues with BAME representation. As recently as last year BAME members were left feeling unwelcome and disenfranchised as the Young Labour Conference descended in to an extremely factional and hostile environment.

With this in mind, I sought to bring this motion back – cleaning-up many specifics and gaining popular support. I approached members in Labour’s moderate and Momentum faction, informing them that Young Labour needs to pave the way and if we actually want to be an inclusive organisation we need to work together – past actions cannot be sustained.

On Saturday, the motion passed unanimously, guaranteeing at least five BAME members on the elected Committee. History was made. But it's not enough and we cannot stop there. Issues surrounding race in Young Labour and the wider Party persist. Even with the passing of this motion we will face battles for our voice to be heard across Young Labour, in wider Labour Party structures and Council and Parliamentary selections. Change won't happen in a year, or even two, but it will.

Siddo is a young Labour activist and Vice Chair of Enfield North CLP. He previously served as London Young Labour BAME Officer 2015-16

History was made at the London Young Labour Conference, but we’re not done yet

Two years ago, I proposed a motion to the London Young Labour Conference which sought to introduce mandatory positions for black, Asian and other ethnic minority members on its 22-strong...

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