My speech to the Kreative Culture Klub’s fourth ‘Young, Gifted & Black’ Annual Awards Ceremony at Walthamstow Assembly Hall.
My name’s Miranda Grell and I’m the Vice Chair of the Leyton & Whipps Cross Community Council but tonight I am here to represent the Councillors responsible for education in our borough.
I am absolutely delighted to be here with you tonight and share in your success. What you have achieved is amazing and you’re a credit to every young person in this borough and every Black child and family in this country.
I’m not going to speak for long as I am as eager to get to the main events as you are. What I would like to briefly do now however, is tell you why I believe that what you are doing is so very very important.
Did you know that recent figures have shown that only 3 in 10 Black boys born in Britain are leaving school with 5 good A-C GCSEs?
And did you know that a recent report from the Equal Opportunities Commission found that young Black women living in Britain are 3 times more likely to be unemployed than their non-Black counterparts?
We all know here that if we want to fundamentally improve and rid ourselves of these appalling statistics that education is the key and that is why the existence of organisations like Kreative Culture Klub are so vital.
Cllr Robbins wants me to convey his utmost gratitude to you Yvonne, your staff and your volunteers at KCK. He also wishes to thank all of you parents and young people here tonight who continue to support KCK and have helped make it the great success it is.
Cllr Robbins wants you know that you have his and the council’s utmost support – so much support that he has asked the leader of the council to make a commitment that should the same political administration return after the local elections on the 4th of May, that there will be even greater support for the good work that you and other supplementary schools in the borough are doing –how can it be right that you, one the beacons of our educational community must pay to hire your premises. Cllr Robbins wishes me to tell you that he and the leader of the council believe that this is unfair and that they will be contacting you, Yvonne, and the heads of the other 20 supplementary schools in the borough to try and put this right.
I am nearly at the end of my speech to you but before we continue with the celebrations, I would like to finish by asking you to do three things for your community that will only strengthen the success and standing of KCK because as the council is trying to help you, it also needs you to help it too.
The first is to ask the parents and adults amongst us here to become a school governor. Waltham Forest needs more local Black people to become school governors and influence the way our schools are run. I am a governor at George Mitchell school in Leyton and I can tell you that it is one of the most rewarding things that I do. I always feel a little sad that there are still not enough of us having a say about our children’s education.
Secondly, we need more of you to start coming along to Community Council meetings and telling us what you like and don’t like about where you live. So far Black residents remain grossly underrepresented at Community Council meetings and for this to change we need YOU to become more actively involved.
Finally– and this is the issue that I feel most strongly about – we need more of you to express yourselves at the ballot box and hold your elected representatives to account. I don’t know if you’ve seen the recent reports that reveal that the Londoners least likely to vote are young and Black. Only a quarter of young people under 24 and only one third of Londoners of African origin are registered to vote. I believe this is criminal when so many of our ancestors died and struggled to exercise this basic right.
You will have an opportunity to vote for a new set of local councillors in May and I therefore hope that if you haven’t already registered to vote you will do so by the deadline of the 13th of March and that on May the 4th you will vote for the local party that recognises the work you do and values the importance of Black children and education.
If any of you are interested in finding out about the work of the Leyton & Whipps Cross Community Council please come and see me afterwards. I’ll be delighted to talk to you. For now, however, may I simply just congratulate you all again.
Young, Gifted and Black are most definitely the right words.