Monday, 9 November 2015

Equalities Officer Report

As some of you will know, I am the Equalities Officer for the Colchester Constituency Labour Party. This is my report for the upcoming CLP meeting on 10 November 2015.

Equalities Officer – Margarida Santos Silva (Maggie!)

I joined the Labour Party – for the second time in my life – in the early hours of May 8th as the exit poll results started to come in. I felt angry and disappointed and betrayed but most of all, I was deeply frustrated. I felt that part of this loss was on me, and I wanted to do more about it. This was what motivated me then, and as the news comes in, day after day, of the government’s plans, cuts, new bills, attacks on the young, the old, the disabled, and all individuals who dare exist and their fundamental human rights, this is what motivates me now.

In June I was elected Equalities Officer at the AGM, for which I am honoured and grateful. I must confess that I do not feel that I have done enough, but I will report to you what I have done. If anyone present or reading this would be interested in supporting me in areas of equalities (particularly: LGBT+, Black and Minority Ethnic, individuals with disabilities) please let me know and I would be very happy to work together. I would like to set-up a sub-committee/forum for equalities.

New members event:

I was part of a group of new members who sought to set up an event for members who – like us – had joined since the elections. We wrote letters, hand-wrote addresses and hand delivered (many of) them (special thanks to Dave Harris for a fair few stamps!). The event was held at The Victoria Inn and didn’t have a spectacular uptake but we are grateful to those who did show up to meet us, and to the Victoria Inn for welcoming us so well. We did also enter into contact with a few members who couldn’t attend, via email.

Facebook group:

Like many of you, I do not work in Colchester and occasionally have difficulty attending events during week days or in the evenings. However, I have a strong desire to remain active locally and to encourage engagement as much as possible. For this, I have created a Facebook group for Colchester Labour Party members to discuss local and national issues:
I particularly urge you to share your local issues to help highlight them to your CLP Executive, although all the usual forms of communication remain open to you (emailing us, meetings, etc.!). I also want to echo the reminder to be kind and stay safe online, which Natalie has already mentioned to you.

You can:
Please join, and add a friend :-) Post liberally, share your thoughts and ideas. CLP Exec are admin.

Missing Millions & #DemocracySOS

More recently I have teamed up with Momentum Colchester (thank you to Jaki Whyte and James Anderson for organising it) and spent some hours on a Saturday in town handing out Democracy SOS flyers. We were moved on from Culver Square, but went onto the High Street and then joined the People’s Assembly on Elm Lane. Many people scoffed at the idea of registering to vote, or even voting at all; many people proudly asserted that they do not vote. However, as a silver lining we did engage many people who were really surprised to find out about the changes and considered that the upcoming boundary changes were somewhat sneaky and thanked us for our work to raise awareness.

Missing Millions (Labour) and Democracy SOS (Momentum) is a great campaign: for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, 1.9 million people may be dropped off the electoral register with the new changes to the registration system (in particular, people who have moved house, people who have been registered by someone else in the past, students, new residents, young people, but this list is not exhaustive). The constituency boundaries are being redrawn based on the electoral register as it stands on 1 December 2015, and so if you have been dropped off the register then your existence will not be counted in the redrawing of the boundaries. This is a priority for a student town (despite the University being in North Essex, many students live in the Colchester constituency and Universities are no longer able to block-register students) and for those most vulnerable to disenfranchisement.

You can:
There are resources online that you can also use and share. Have a look at membersnet! Ask me more if you’re interested in the changes to the registration system.  I would be interested in how our members view Momentum and suggestions for ways in which different local groups can combine efforts.

I was also hoping to attend the Eastern Conference next weekend but have not been able to do so due to changes in my living situation. I look forward to reports from those who will be attending.

  • Setting up a CLP website 
  • Continued development of CLP calendar
  • Women’s Forum - Blog

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