The last week has been busy, busy, busy.
So much has been going on.
Below is a little write up of a very enjoyable councillor week that has involved pool games, anti-facism protests, police concerts and school visits….
Began the week with a vigorous door knocking session in Skeltons Lane and Sophia Rd, where residents have been contacting me about worrying new incidents of street crime. To reassure them and to listen to concerns, myself and ten local Labour councillors went to visit every house personally. Along the way, I spotted this eye sore in Skeltons Lane. I am really fed up with people using Leyton as a rubbish dump. Sorting out illegal fly tipping is firmly on my ‘to do’ list.
A couple of days later, it was off to Barking to assist the Barking Alliance against Racism and Facism’s anti-BNP protest . I accompanied Cable St veteran Max Levitas and London Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron to the event. (Read the full story by going to the ‘Campaigns’ section of this website.)
After the BNP protest and a board meeting of Leyton’s main registered social landlord Forest Homes, I rushed to the Al Badr youth centre in Lea Bridge Road, to participate in a ‘Councillors V Youth’ pool tournament, where all the councillors (except me!) were roundly beaten ( I always knew that spending my half my teenage years in the pool hall at the Red Lion would come in handy one day ).
Al Badr is a superb youth centre, situated next to the Lea Bridge Road mosque, which does some excellent work with our borough’s most vulnerable Muslim youngsters. The centre has helped to prevent gang fights through negotiations with the young people and works closely with the police and Waltham Forest council, to raise awareness of cultural issues.
Al Badr arranged Wednesday’s pool tournament, to help the local councillors continue to build good relationships with the young people and tell us what they really think of what we’re doing (or not doing) for them. Congratulations to Al Badr’s hardworking director Hanif Qadir (pictured directly to the left of me) for continuing to play such a positive role in our community and to Councillor Afzal Akram (pictured in the white shirt, to the left of Hanif) for continuing to lead the way in the council reaching out to our Muslim communities.
Friday morning and it was off to George Mitchell school, where I am a governor, to talk to a special assembly of the whole of year nine, as part of George Mitchell’s Black History Month and Asian Week celebrations.
Teacher Soniyah Khan (pictured above left) had invited a number of Black and Asian women into the school last week to talk to the kids about their professions and the role of Black and Asian people in Britain today. I realy enjoyed being grilled by these feisty year nines. I am planning to arrange a trip for them to the Town Hall, Parliament and London’s City Hall.
Friday night and I accompanied Jennette Arnold, Waltham Forest’s London Assembly Member (pictured left with the BPA’s Chair George Rodin in the centre), to the Black Police Association’s ‘Celebration of Life’ Black History Month concert (www.nationalbpa.com).
I love good music and this gig didn’t disappoint. Concert goers were treated to fabulous performances from, amongst others, the London Community Gospel Choir, Don-E (who did a very moving tribute to the late Lyndon David Hall) and Faith SFX, the UK’s Beat box champion. Absolutely amazing!!!
I ended this councillor week with a visit to the Charis Christian Centre in Capworth Steet, to address the ‘Young Achievers’ Ceremony of the KJ Academy’s Saturday Supplementary School. The KJ Academy, based at the Score building in Oliver Road, has been holding these ceremonies for seven years, to celebrate the achievements – both big and small – of its students.
The majority of KJ Academy’s pupils are Black and the school works to instill them with a sense of confidence, purpose and self worth, because, unfortunately, the academic achievement of British Black Caribbean boys continues to be a worry.
Voluntary supplementary schools like the KJ Academy are doing such wonders for these boys (and girls) that mainstream schools are now singing their praises.
I am over the moon that Waltham Forest Labour’s election manifesto committed to helping supplementary schols, like KJ Academy, find fit-for-purpose premises. Premises are the main expense for these invaluable local education champions and so I am campaigning hard to make sure that Waltham Forest Labour stick by our manifesto promise.
Thank you to KJ Academy’s hardworking co-founder Karlene Rickard (pictured with me above) for inviting me to such an uplifting and positive night to end a very uplifting and positive councillor week