Nathalie Nicholas: Liverpool's beacon of change

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Twenty-first century Britain may be a multiracial, multicultural society, but locally governance lags behind in terms of BME political representation. This is especially true when it comes to representation of BME women within the democratic process.

However, earlier this month, Nathalie Nicholas made a historic breakthrough in Liverpool’s elected chamber.

Nicholas, a graduate of the OBV and Liverpool Council Shadowing Scheme, made political history in her election as a councilor to the Picton Ward tripling the level of BME representation on Liverpool’s Council.

With one of the oldest Black communities in Europe, spanning 400 years, the level of BME representation in Liverpool is woefully low. In 2008, at the time of Nicholas’ participation on the Councillor Shadowing Scheme, Liverpool had only one BME Councillor, out of its ninety elected representatives - Councillor Anna Rothery, herself an OBV graduate. The election of Nicholas brings the number to three BME Councillors. Therefore, not only is her election a great personal achievement, it is a significant achievement for Liverpool and wider society too.

Across the country, the number of BME women councillors is grossly unrepresentative with research nationally showing the profile of the average councilor as a white man aged 60. Although BME women comprise 6% of the population, they form less than 2% of councilors, with nearly 1000 more BME women councillors needed to be reflective of society as a whole.

Since completing the mentoring programme in 2009, Nicholas worked hard at a grassroots level to empower others and became the Ethnic Minority and Women’s officer for her local Party. She was soon spotted and stood in the 2011 local election, narrowly missing victory by 200 votes. Undeterred, her hard work and resolute determination paid off, and she won her seat convincingly, receiving 75% of the votes.

As Nicholas begins her role, championing the rights of all of Picton’s communities, she demonstrates that change is possible. Four years ago, she entered the Chamber as a stranger. Now she will sit next to those who mentored her as colleagues, no longer a stranger, but as a proud pioneer of change.

Francine Fernandes

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well done Nathalie

Watching a young women develop, such as Nathalie is without doubt one of the greatest rewards for OBV. She started from zero; was keen, passionate about change, willing to listen and learn. Moreover, the time came she was ready to step up to a leadership role. For me, there is no public office that this dynamic women cannot aspire to. What's satisfying to us is that where ever her political journey takes her, she will take her community and her commitment to social and racial justice with her.

Well done, girl!

Congratulation, its nice to

Congratulation, its nice to hear some positive news especially about the progression of black people within politics especially having to watch the pompous current Prime Minister and his elite Eton cronies who are so out of touch.

Wonderful news!

Well done Nathalie!

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