As part of our Liberation in Labour Students blog series, our new BAME Officer, Lydia Okoibhole, writes about her plans for the year.
My name is Lydia Okoibhole, I go to the University of Leeds and I am the newly elected and incredibly proud Labour Students BAME officer!
Since becoming a Labour student, unfortunately there have been issues when it comes to the treatment and representation of BAME students. My first Labour Students event in Scarborough was incredibly difficult but I’m optimistic that things are changing for the better.
2016 was an amazing year for the BAME caucus in Labour students – our numbers increased massively, we had our first BAME caucus conference which was an interesting experience for those in attendance and a great way to meet BAME students from around the country.
As a young, black woman, I've naturally felt like the Labour party represented me. It's always been the party of equality, social democracy and justice for all. Historically, it has fought against racial inequality and in 2015, I was glad to see a BAME manifesto released. It included ‘closing the BAME pay gap’, ‘taking robust action against hate crime’ and ‘strengthening representation in public life and in politics’. Unfortunately, Labour didn’t win in 2015 and right now, as a party we need to focus on winning a general election so we can work with the BAME community and make sure these changes actually happen.