On Monday night YouElect bought the topic of BME political engagement into the Houses of Parliament as it kicked off it’s first in a series of events on the Issue.
Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton Rupa Huq was the host for the evening which involved a lively discussion with BME youth representatives from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.
The event was part of the Bridging the Gap series, designed to highlight key factors contributing to the lack of people from BME backgrounds participating in politics and to develop practical solutions to the issue.
Attendees were asked to tweet about the event using #FlipTheScript as a way of raising awareness about the need to change the status quo in Parliament and make sure that BME voices are being heard.
During the discussion, each panellist had the opportunity to talk about how they became interested in politics, the things their party does and doesn’t do well when it comes to encouraging BME political participation and the reasons they feel there are a lack of young people from BME communities engaging in politics.
Attendees were also able to ask their own questions and hear advice and tips from Rupa and the panel during an interactive Q&A session.
A wide variety of issues were raised by the audience including how to break into politics when it seems like preference is given to people who have studied in elite universities and whether or not BME quotas are a help or a hindrance.
“We want to make sure that the issue of how to achieve greater BME representation in politics is being actively tackled across all parties and that young people are having a say in this process” said YouElect Director Shamiul Joarder. “It was great to see a packed out room full of people from different walks of life who are passionate about this issue coming together to share ideas.” He added.
One of the key points raised by all panellists during the evening was that they felt there was a lack of education when it comes to political participation both at school and in the home environment.
YouElect will be addressing this by making sure that more young people from BME backgrounds are visiting parliament and attending workshops tailored specifically at showing them how they can influence the political process.
We will be holding our next parliament event on 22nd March, you can find details about the event here.
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