Realising King’s Dream
Operation Black Vote and Department of Communities and Local Government Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme graduates today.
Diane Abbott Shadow Minister for Health will lead the reception with senior ministers and peers including, Peter Bottomley and Baroness Scott taking part. The Parliamentarians and graduates will today recognise and celebrate the value of improving diversity within the highest tier of our democracy.
Over a period of six months 31 outstanding Black and minority ethnic individuals have shadowed MPs and Peers from all the three main parties, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. Thirty-one MPs and Peers have participated including Cabinet Minister Rt. Hon Oliver Letwin, CLG Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Andrew Stunell and Party Leaders Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas and Elfyn Llwyd.
The award-winning scheme forms part of OBV’s overall strategy to encourage BME communities to positively engage and be better represented within our political and civic institutions.
The Scheme has been successful in giving participants an insight into the corridors of power and providing a valuable platform to nurture their political development.
The last election witnessed two OBV alumni make history: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi became the first female Muslim to sit in Cabinet and OBV graduate, Helen Grant became the Conservative’s first woman of African decent elected to Westminster.
With guidance from their MPs and Peers and intense training in regards to policy, media, and activism, including a visit to Downing Street, OBV expect the many of participants to hold key political or civic positions in the very near future.
Symbolically, the graduation coincides with Dr Martin Luther King Day - a US national holiday. The graduation entitled, ‘Realising the Dream’, takes place later today in the House of Lords.
Picture: Parliamentary Shadows visit Downing Street.