Rebuilding Haringey Law Centre with Catherine West MP

M C JI had a really good meeting with Catherine West MP, the Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, in Parliament earlier this week. Law Centres Network director Julie Bishop (pictured right) and I met Catherine (pictured centre) to discuss Haringey Law Centre and the many positive developments afoot. It’s fantastic to have Catherine – and Tottenham MP David Lammy’s – full support as we try to help Haringey Law Centre colleagues rebuild the Centre.

Tottenham Community Press

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I am really pleased to have joined the advisory board of the new Tottenham Community Press newspaper.

Tottenham Community Press (TCP) is a free, independent, community newspaper which launched in November 2016. It’s a print newspaper and currently publishes on a bi-monthly basis.

TCP operates as a not-for-profit publication written by and for local people. It aims to reflect the vibrancy and diversity of the Tottenham area, to celebrate its rich traditions and cultural heritage.

The Tottenham Community Press marks a return to real local news, giving readers the chance to learn more about what’s going on in their area and to read (and write) news stories about what matters them. It relies on local advertising to provide this service.

The aim of TCP is to promote the work of local community organisations and voluntary sector groups, along with arts and cultural activities taking place in Tottenham. Furthermore, it wants to provide an opportunity for local people to contribute and raise important issues.

I am absolutely chuffed to be involved with this brilliant local media initiative.

In an era where “fake news” is becoming the norm, it’s time for ordinary people to take back control of the way their community and their stories are depicted online and in the mainstream media. In an area like Tottenham, which still suffers enormous stigma after the 2011 London riots, giving local people back their own voice is even more important.

I look forward to working with TCP’s Editor Ellie Ward; Publisher David Floyd; Designer Jonathan Duncan; Project Manager Anna Merryfield; and Social Media volunteer Louise Davidson to make TCP a success.

TCP is looking for contributors, photographers, local advertisers and anyone who wants to offer their support. Please email tcp@socialspider.com if you have something to offer!

Proof Magazine Roundtable

Proof Magazine Roundtable

I was delighted to participate in a recent roundtable discussion on the future of Legal Aid. The roundtable, which was organised by the Justice Alliance and chaired by Guardian journalist Shiv Malik, will be turned into a feature in a special edition of the Justice Gap‘s Proof MagazineThe issue will focus entirely on legal aid.

Other participants at the roundtable included Richard Burgon MP, the Shadow Justice Secretary; Greg Powell, solicitor and former president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association; Deborah Coles, Director of Inquest; Vakas Hussain, barrister and press officer of British Muslim Youth; and Gloria Morrison from campaign group Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association (JENGbA).

The discussion was excellent. Everyone who contributed had a professional or campaign interest in legal aid but it was clear that they also cared deeply about access to justice issues on a personal level. It was an real honour to be invited to take part and be in such esteemed company.

The first two issues of Proof Magazine have focused on ‘Justice in a Time of Moral Panic‘ and ‘The Limits of Open Justice‘. The special issue on legal aid will be published shortly. It promises to be a informative and long overdue read.

Paying Tribute to the Bristol Bus Boycott Campaigners

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I was in Bristol recently and visited the Bristol Bus Boycott plaque. I wanted to pay tribute to Paul Stephenson OBE and the other formidable campaigners who forced the Bristol Omnibus Company to reverse its decision not to employ Black or Asian staff.

The boycott of the Bristol Omnibus Company, which became known as the ‘Bristol Bus Boycott’, took place in 1963 and lasted four months. It is credited with being the reason Prime Minister Harold Wilson introduced the 1965 Race Relations Act, which outlawed racial discrimination in public places.

I salute Paul Stephenson and all of the Bristol Bus Boycott campaigners and supporters. They helped make Britain a better place for people like me.