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I have a dream

I have a dream

🕔22.Jan 2013

On the day on the historical inauguration of the first black president of America for his second term, I started to wonder when the UK will have its first ethnic minority Prime Minister.
The USA has a shameful history on the way it treated its black populations, from the slave trade to legal segregation of black people until the 1960s. The strong civil rights movement led by many great men and women, such as Dr Martin Luther King, Rev John Duffy, Rev TJ Jemison, Ella Baker, Malcolm X, made considerable advances in helping the American white population realise its folly and prejudice. However, this was never a feature in the UK, yet America managed to elect a black leader before the UK.
One wonders if we had our own mass civil rights movement, if our black community had strong campaigning zeal, if we had great personalities from ethnic minority backgrounds who could move crowds of millions to take action against the injustice that we face, if we managed to break down the considerable barriers we face in the political and civil structures of the UK, would we have a prime minister from an ethnic minority sitting in 10 Downing Street today?
I look around in despair at the lack of representation of ethnic minorities in the different structures from town halls, to Parliament and everything in between, but see some glimmer of light. Let’s have a look around Birmingham and the West Midlands: we have made some progress, we some very talented councillors on Birmingham City Council, but only one ethnic minority cabinet member and no senior directors. It was great to see Yvonne Mosquito becomming deputy police and crime commissioner position, and I’m hopeful he will ensure effective representation of all our communities on the Strategic Police and Crime Board. But there are no senior ranking police officers from ethnic minorities. In the health service, there is not one ethnic minority chairman or chief executive of the hospitals in the region, yet ethnic minorities suffer from considerable health inequalities in these areas and it seems this glass barrier is continuing without challenge.
In Parliament we have one token ethnic minority in the Cabinet, Baroness Warsi, who can attend Cabinet but not as a full member.
However, the glimmer of hope is there, with some really good MP’s from ethnic minority backgrounds making considerable impact on both sides of the political divide, for example Sadiq Khan, the Shadow Justice Minister, Chuka Umunna, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills from the Labour side and from the Conservatives Sajid Javid, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Priti Patel to name a few. In fact there are now 27 ethnic minority MP’s with the majority from the Labour Party. Time will tell if any of these will actually break through and walk through Downing Street to take up residence.
Martin Luther King said in 1963: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.
Today, my dream is that one day we will see justice and equality a reality, where people will take up positions based on their competency and not the colour of their skin. I have a dream that the first ethnic minority prime minister will walk through the doors of Downing Street and Britain will rejoice in this historical moment. I have a dream.

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