Tag Archives: bame equality

Being LGBT+ and BAME: my story

The short article I had planned to write after attending Stonewall’s Diaspora Showcase on Thursday 6 September was going to focus on the issues affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT+ people and what the Liberal Democrats, specifically the Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality (LDCRE), can do to address those issues.

I was going to go through the findings outlined in Stonewall’s Home in the Community report, and talk about the discrimination BAME LGBT+ people have encountered within their own communities, and double discrimination in the workplace. However, my intended focus is not the right starting point.

The Diaspora Showcase was not about the bad associated with being BAME LGBT+, it was about all the good. As Stonewall advertised, it was a celebration of the beautiful diverse BAME and LGBT+ community. It was quite poignant that this celebration took place on the same day that the gay sex ban in India was struck down. This was of course referenced and applauded on several occasions during the showcase.

I cried when a series of short documentaries were shown, in particular the moment that an African man of religion stated that gay means “God Adores You”. I cried when Khakan Qureshi, the founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT, told his story about coming up and out. I cried because this event has been a long time in the making. It is 2018 after all.

I have wasted a lot of my time regretting how I’ve not lived an authentic life. I often find myself wishing for a do-over. I wish I could go back in time and tell 15-year-old me to stop trying to convince herself that her infatuation with a high school friend was just jealousy. I wish I could tell 18-year-old me that my sexual attraction to a Muslim sister I used to attend mosque with did not make me a wrong’un. I wish I could celebrate with 21-year-old me about being with a woman for the first time, instead of leaving her alone and stewing in displaced guilt and shame. I wish the me of three months ago, RSVP’d to Ramadan celebrations, wouldn’t have been so tied up in worry about her response if asked: “Do you have a husband or boyfriend?”. Science has not yet produced time travel technology so I can’t do any of that.

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Inaugural meeting of the Race Equality Policy Working Group

On 13 February, eve of Valentine’s Day, members of the Race Equality Policy Working Group met for the first time at LDHQ. I mention Valentine’s Day because this is very much a labour of love for those of us who have volunteered to assist the Party in its policy making on this important subject.

The first meeting was also timely for another reason: it follows the issue last week of Lord Alderdice’s report on Race, Ethnic Minorities and the culture of the Liberal Democrats and an email from our leader, Vince Cable MP, calling on each and every member to …

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Implementing Alderdice’s recommendations will make the Liberal Democrats stronger

Having joined the Liberal Democrats only around 8 weeks ago it was heartening to see that various recommendations & thoughts I expressed to Lord Alderdice in December were included in his comprehensive report. John’s enthusiasm and will to drive change with Baroness Brinton’s vision of change can be felt throughout this report.

For myself personally, it was incredibly positive to see a party that is truly looking to engage with the BAME communities. Having been the Deputy Chairman of the London Conservative Party, stood for Parliament & the GLA for them, I had almost given up hope on political parties wanting to truly engage with the needs of minority communities in the UK. However this report is the beginning of a movement which each and every one of us in our party can be a part of, and we as Liberal Democrats can be the champions of this for years to come. It makes me proud that I left the Conservatives for a party that is progressive and that wants to deal with issues head on and tackle inequality of all kinds. In order to attract the wider BAME communities to the Lib Dems practical tips such as

  • Ensuring that your local party group makes and implements a plan for engaging with race and ethnic minority communities in your area.
  • If you want to bring in young people from communities, don’t expect older community leaders to be the most suitable magnets.
  • Everyone has a contribution to make in engaging BAME communities and individuals at all levels.

have been outlined in the report. These need to be studied and examined within all of our constituency associations in order to truly build on this report and allow for its various facets to be implemented.

In addition to this i was extremely pleased my suggestion to Lord Alderdice in regards to adopting the role of Vice Chairman of the Liberal Democrat Party for BAME Communities – has been included. John understood the necessity of such a role to allow us to connect to communities all over the UK. A Vice Chair for BAME Communities would allow us as a party to engage with grassroots of various communities and give those psrticular communities a particular individual as a port of call for them to engage with. This would enable the diverse communities to build.a rapport with our party via a particular assigned individual. So when communities would like to raise issues, concerns or suggestions they have a particular person they can approach and seek assistance from. In addition, this would also allow our many local diversity champions across the country to work together more coherantly, as the Vice Chair would be someone they can approach to reach out to their various diverse communities locally. It would also assist them to share good practice, such as what is going on in Kingston, Richmond, Twickenham, Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Hackney & Sutton just to mention some. By sharing this good practice via one particular individual you are able to give it structure and allow our diversity champions to feel comfortable and guided in their somewhat current ambiguous & difficult roles.

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New Policy Working Group on Race Equality: Chair Needed

Readers of Geoff Payne’s report on the last FPC meeting, on 18 October, may remember that we took the decision to establish a new policy working group on Race Equality.

The first stage in the process is for the FPC to appoint a chair of the working group, and we’re advertising for applicants now.

The chair will lead a group of around 15–20 members to produce policy proposals setting out the party’s plans for improving race equality and helping us reach out to BAME communities, while exemplifying the party’s values.

The working group will take evidence in the first half of 2018 …

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Six Lib Dem policies to tackle racial inequality

The Lib Dem manifesto, launched earlier today, includes several ideas to make Britain a more racially-equal society.

Black and minority ethnic (BAME) people will be voting on all the main issues, like Europe, the economy, education and health. But polls show that BAME communities are more concerned about ‘security’ issues like unemployment, and about equality.

Our new manifesto offers some serious proposals to address some fundamental causes of racial unfairness in society. This shows that Lib Dems are keen to walk the walk on equality.

That we don’t just believe that everyone is equal, but we understand the challenges faced …

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Do we need to reinforce our open-minded, tolerant and liberal credentials?

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities represent a growing proportion of the UK. In 2010 they made up a total of 14% of the population and 8% of the voters. Yet at the last general election the majority (52%) of BAME voters cast their ballot for Labour not the Lib Dems. In fact over two thirds – 67% – of the black community voted Labour, with 38% of the Asian community voting Conservative.

Lib Dem opposition to the Iraq war in 2003 won the party a legion of new supporters, many from BAME communities, who felt let down by Labour’s march to war. The result was that in the 2005 general election the Lib Dems polled 16% from ethnic minority voters, with support particularly high amongst Pakistani voters amongst whom they polled 25%. Fast forward a decade and Lib Dem support among BAME voters in 2015 had collapsed to just 4%. It’s clear that the Party urgently needs to address this, and find neat innovative ways to appeal to BAME voters whose trust has been lost perhaps because of lack of engagement and lack of attention at the top of the party.

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Opinion: The Highlander who won our hearts, and will never be forgotten!

Together with Liberal Democrat family and wider world of politics and beyond, my brothers and sisters and I within the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Charles Kennedy, and wish to send our heartfelt condolences to his family and many friends.

His brave stance on Iraq has rightly been the subject of much eulogising, and for many members of the EMLD this was the motivation to join our Party in the first place.

It may not have been planned but the impact of Iraq has had a profound effect on Black, Asian and minority ethnic politics in Britain.

Labour lost a hefty proportion of support, especially from Muslim communities, mostly to the Lib Dems, and Labour’s assumed hegemony over the BAME vote was irreparably damaged.

Charles almost certainly did not consider these consequences when opting to do what was simply for him, the right thing to do, and oppose the war in Iraq, but pretty soon afterwards saw that courting diverse Britain was a key part of his plan to make the Party the conscience of, and rooted firmly in the centre left of politics.

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Lord Navnit Dholakia writes..Lib Dem BAME manifesto takes pro-active approach to valuing different cultures, combating racism and reducing inequality

My core belief that we all have a right to be treated fairly without reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnicity is one of the reasons I have remained committed to the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats for over fifty years. The party’s fundamental rejection of prejudice and discrimination is just as important now as it was when I joined the Brighton Young Liberals in the 1950s.

Britain has a proud record in race and community relations, but at a time when we see the rise of the divisive politics of parties like UKIP, it has never been more important for the Liberal Democrats to stand up for equality and diversity.

Today the party has launched its BAME Manifesto. It spells out how we will continue to protect the rights and opportunities of Britain’s ethnic minorities – the right to live in peace, to receive an education, to get a job, to raise a family free from fear, and, above all, the right to be treated fairly without reference to race, colour, national or ethnic origins.

Our culture and economy is stronger as a result of the diverse range of people who have chosen to make Britain their home. In government we’ve made huge progress in securing Britain’s economic recovery and helping businesses to grow. Self-employment and the small business sector is especially important for BAME communities. In the past 12 months alone a third of all the new businesses set up through the Start-Up Loans initiative have been by Black and Minority Ethnic entrepreneurs. But there is still more to be done to help BAME entrepreneurs. So we will build on the Coalition’s BME Access to Finance report to identify ways to encourage more BAME applicants to apply for finance and set up small businesses, and monitor and tackle the BAME pay gap. We will build on what we have already achieved in government by raising the tax free personal allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of the next Parliament, ensuring that many BAME workers who work part time or on low to middle incomes benefit from a further tax cut.

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Brent Central’s Ibrahim Taguri appointed as Liberal Democrat Race Equality Champion

Ibrahim Taguri selected for Brent Central
Ibrahim Taguri was born and raised in Brent not far from the office he wants to take over from Sarah Teather in May. Last Summer he wrote of his ambition for the area:

Yet I was lucky. My mother was single minded when it came to our education as children. That was our route out of poverty. I was also lucky in many ways, so when I had opportunities I was able to make the most of them. That’s why when Sarah Teather announced she was standing down as MP, I knew I had to take the opportunity to represent my community. My job as an MP will be to challenge those structural barriers that prevent people getting on in life as well as to support the most vulnerable in our society on a day to day basis, helping them to escape a cycle of despair.

That’s why, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, I will be dedicating my first term in parliament to eradicating child poverty in the UK by 2020. A goal set out but the last administration and continued by the coalition. Yet the target is in serious danger of being missed as political parties continue to embroil themselves in blame games and semantics.

I believe that focusing on this issue we can tackle many of the great challenges of our time; improving life chances no matter where someone was born, integrating physical and mental health services; increasing housing stock to not uproot families; providing more educational opportunities and making work pay.

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