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My name is Seyi Akiwowo, I'm British Nigerian, Newham Labour Councillor and one of the first Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme graduates. 

Last year at Labour Party Conference the party announced we will fund The Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme which the Labour Women's Network in association with the Jo Cox Foundation launched December 2017. I was heavily encouraged to apply by my Forest Gate North ward colleague, Cllr Rachel Tripp. The Vice-Chair of West Ham CLP at the time, Cllr Julianne Marriott wrote a beautiful reference for me. It was certainly a shock and privilege to be selected out of 1,100 women that applied as one of the 57 who made up the first cohort. I'm proud to say we are truly a diverse cohort of women representing our diverse Labour party, diversity in terms of race, politics, location, age, religion, sexuality, background and previous political experience.

Why you should apply for the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme

My name is Seyi Akiwowo, I'm British Nigerian, Newham Labour Councillor and one of the first Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme graduates.  Last year at Labour Party Conference the... Read more

BAME Labour condemns the racist incidents that have taken place inside UK universities against black students over the last week. This should not be happening in our universities. We are happy that university establishments involved have started investigations, however more needs to be done to prevent behaviour like this from being repeated. We hope harsh punishments will be handed to those involved and the victims compensated for the distressing ordeal.
 
If any BAME Labour students or parents are worried about their children’s safety please get in touch with Jen Davis (@JennaNDavis_) or Alvin Shum (labourbame@gmail.com). 

BAME Labour condemns latest racist incidents in UK universities

BAME Labour condemns the racist incidents that have taken place inside UK universities against black students over the last week. This should not be happening in our universities. We are...

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BAME Labour is launching a national and UK wide consultation to engage BAME Labour Party members and BAME communities in the Labour Party Democracy Review. The Labour Democracy Review is the first major review of its kind for over thirty years since the principle of Black Self-Organisation in the Labour Party was adopted in Labour's rules.

Join us at our event 24th February 2018 in Leeds at Unison, Commerce House, Wade Lane, Leeds, LS2 8NJ.

To RSVP to our event please click here.

 

BAME Labour Plus Consultation - Leeds

BAME Labour is launching a national and UK wide consultation to engage BAME Labour Party members and BAME communities in the Labour Party Democracy Review. The Labour Democracy Review is...

As part of the Labour Party Democracy Review, BAME Labour has travelled around the UK consulting Labour members on their opinions on the Labour Party's relationship with BAME members. You can read our submission on scribd here: 

BAME Labour Submission to Labour Democracy Review 

If you wish for a copy to be sent to you, then please email us at labourbame@gmail.com

BAME Labour Submission to the Labour Party Democracy Review

As part of the Labour Party Democracy Review, BAME Labour has travelled around the UK consulting Labour members on their opinions on the Labour Party's relationship with BAME members. You...

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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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... Read more

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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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It was a full house in committee room nine of the House of Commons, sat upon the gaze of a gargantuan portrait of Sir Robert Peel was a room was packed wall to wall with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people. Many of whom had come from across country to be at the launch of BAME Labour's mentoring and political education scheme.

We Need BAME Labour's Mentoring Scheme - Here's Why

  It was a full house in committee room nine of the House of Commons, sat upon the gaze of a gargantuan portrait of Sir Robert Peel was a room... Read more

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular importance to the BAME community. Due to the length of both the candidates answers (which is greatly appreciated!), we've split the questions and answers into two parts. You can read part one here.

Don't forget that the deadline to vote for the Labour leadership is noon on Wednesday 21st September.

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4. How would you help pull up BAME communities, specifically Muslim communities, from being at the bottom of the economic active population?

Owen Smith [OS]: Recent research has shown the additional disadvantage in employment and income experienced by Muslims. A recent report by the Women and Equalities Committees shows that Muslim women are the most disadvantaged and three times more likely to be unemployed jobseekers than women generally. My plans for fair employment will include banning exploitative zero hours contracts, introducing a modern Equal Pay Act, and wages councils in the care, hospitality and retail sectors, and a real living wage. All these policies will help close the BAME and gender pay gaps. And we also need to constantly tackle Islamophobia and discrimination in all its forms, to ensure that no one is held back from achieving their full potential in the workplace. 

Jeremy Corbyn [JC]: Britain is rightly proud of being one of the most diverse communities in the world. 

Our first priority will be education. Educations is the gateway to realising potential. My commitment to restore free education and Education Maintenance Allowance will help BAME communities to become economically active. Once in the job market we will ensure the practices in the public and private sector root out inequality in recruitment and in the work place. 

Muslim face unique disadvantages which we aim to urgently tackle in order to make equality of opportunity a reality for all BAME communities. We will ensure that the experience of BAME people are properly represented in Workplace 2020 and take forward measures such as implementing fair and transparent employment practices and explore further initiatives such as name blind recruitment practices to combat discriminatory recruitment practices which disproportionately impacts on BAME and Muslim individuals. 

We will utilise our £500 billion investment in infrastructure, backed by our publicly owned National Investment Bank and regional development banks, to ensure that women and BAME communities gain access to the high quality jobs of the future, while creating a million new jobs. 

We have also committed to policies that will end the scourge of low paid and insecure work, raising the statutory minimum wage, ending exploitative zero hours contracts, as well as strengthening employment and trade union rights for equality in the workplace and to tackle discrimination. 

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5. How would you provide extra help for BAME women wishing to stand for election?

[OS]: I will continue to use the Future Candidates Programme, and work with groups like the Labour Women's Network and Fabian Women's Network, to provide support for BAME women standing for election. I know that the cost of standing for election can be a significant deterrent for many women, including from BAME backgrounds. We must find ways to make sure cost does not prevent candidates from coming forward. The NEC are looking at this issue and I look forward to seeing their recommendations, as action is urgently needed. 

[JC]: The increase in Labour membership over the past year provides a vast and diverse resource for our movement, however we cannot assume that this will translate into increased representation for traditionally underrepresented groups. 

The fact that 12% of Britons come from a BAME background, yet only 6.3% of MPs do is testament to the barriers people face. Women are also underrepresented across out society and in our democracy at all levels - and of course BAME women are particularly underrepresented. We need to challenge the barriers to this at ever level. 

To ensure greater representation of BAME women we need to bring about a cultural shift both inside and outside the Labour party. One of the points I have made at hustings is that we need to look at mechanisms to increase our diversity, be reflective of society as a whole and increase our representation of all women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled and LGBT people. We have also committed to taking forward the recommendations of the Shami Chakrabarti report in ensuring that we are building an inclusive party that is welcoming to all. 

6. You've both proposed women's representation in the shadow cabinet. How would you encourage greater BAME representation?

[OS]: I want Parliament to be more reflective of the communities we seek to represent, and of the country as a whole. 

As Leader of the Labour Party, I'd work closely with BAME Labour and the NEC to help encourage and support greater representation of BAME people in Parliament. We need to encourage people to get more involved by standing for CLP officer positions, as well as for council and parliament. We also need to look outside our Party, working with community groups and trade unions to identify talented BAME campaigners and activists who could be future Labour members and representatives. Greater BAME representation in parliament will enable us to have a shadow cabinet that reflects the diversity of the country, and I am committed to achieving this. 

[JC]: As a party we must never go back to the all too recent situation of having an all-white front bench and a commitment to this principle should be a minimum requirement to stand as Labour leader. However, we cannot allow this limited and recent progress to satisfy us; the shadow cabinet still does not reflect the country it seeks to represent that his must be addressed. At the last shadow cabinet elections in 2010, only one BAME candidate was elected and only three candidates stood. To encourage this to change we must first address the number of BAME MPs. At the current rate it will take 100 years before BAME Parliamentarians reach a number that is reflective of society. We will initiate a review into the actions required to address BAME representation, considering all options. 

BAME Labour Leadership Questions - Part 2

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular...

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular importance to the BAME community. Due to the length of both the candidates answers (which is greatly appreciated!), we've split the questions and answers into two parts. You can read part two here.

Don't forget that the deadline to vote for the Labour leadership is noon on Wednesday 21st September.

BAME Labour Leadership Questions - Part 1

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular... Read more

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