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.