Over 200 Tooting residents attended a “Representing You Better” Parliamentary Reception recently, hosted by their MP Sadiq Khan in the House of Commons. The reception was also attended by 4 guest speakers: Oona King, Simon Woolley, Chuka Umuuna PPC and Dawn Butler MP.
Tooting residents of all ages, backgrounds, races and religions attended the Reception at the House of Commons which was aimed at getting the Tooting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community more involved in politics.
Sadiq Khan MP said “It was about letting people know that the Houses of Parliament belong to them and that they are entitled to come along, visit and to make their views known.”
“It was also to encourage people to get involved in politics and with their community because with some hard work you can make a real difference. All of the excellent speakers motivated everyone there and I know that many people went away thinking about how they were going to get involved.”
After the event Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote said “[the event was] empowerment at its very best. Local residents, many from African and Caribbean backgrounds, brought to the centre of British democracy -Westminster- to be told this place belongs to you too.”
He said, “I'm convinced Sadiq Khan and the other speakers inspired many there to feel they can be agents for positive change”.
Dawn Butler, MP for Brent, is one of only 2 Black women who are currently members of Parliament. Butler gave an inspiring speech. She stressed that she wanted more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women in parliament. Butler stressed how there currently are only 2 Black MPs who are women, going on to tell the audience how she encouraged people to get more involved in politics and advised them on how to do so. She also included an extract from “I Rise” by Dr. Maya Angelou, which everyone joined her in performing.
Oona King, ex-MP for Bethnal Green & Bow from 1997-2005, spoke along the same lines and encouraged more people to get involved in politics and also in their communities as well. Chuka Umunna, identified as one of ten young, gifted and black people in British politics, and a ‘rising star’ also gave a memorable speech in which he said that people shouldn’t sit in their armchairs complaining, but that where they see something that they disagree with that they should get involved and change things for the better.
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