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Greens call for Windrush Day to be national bank holiday


ON THE eve of Windrush day, the Green Party will call for it to be made a national bank holiday to recognise the contribution migrants make to life in Britain.

Magid Magid, the new Green Lord Mayor in Sheffield, will make the call during a speech at the launch of the Deyika Nzeribe Fund at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton.

The scheme, which is designed to increase racial diversity in the party, is named after Deyika Nzeribe - the Green Party’s candidate in the 2017 Greater Manchester mayoral election who died suddenly during the campaign aged 50.

The fund will be overseen by a small board of members and staff and will go towards mentoring, training and outreach to encourage more BAME people to join the party and stand for election.

The fund will be launched by Magid Magid, who travelled to the UK from Somalia as a refugee when he was five-years-old. Magid made headlines in May when he became Sheffield’s youngest ever Lord Mayor at 28.

Green Party co-leaders Jonathan Bartley and Caroline Lucas will join Magid at the launch along with Cleo Lake, the Green Lord Mayor in Bristol who recently had a portrait of a slave trader removed from her office, among others.

Magid is expected to say: “People in this country bear the brunt of a politics led by people who don’t reflect the country. As I walked through Parliament the other day I was struck by the whiteness of the place - in the statues, in the MPs, in every aspect except the staff who make the place tick. We’re launching this fund because the Green Party recognises its own shortcomings when it comes to diversity - and because we’re committed to making it right.

“To stand any chance of bridging the divide we must ensure those in our decision making chambers reflect the population of Britain. For the Green Party, that work is strengthened today as we launch the Deyika Nzeribe Fund.

“And today we’re also recommitting ourselves to standing up for migrants. Because people of colour like me will often consider ourselves British, but we are here because of migration, and because our parents, grandparents, great grandparents built a life here.

"The Green Party celebrates that migration - whether its people choosing to make a life here, or being given a chance to settle here because where they came from was not safe. When my family came to Sheffield as refugees 20 years ago we were welcomed – but today our story is becoming increasingly rare.

“In the face of these challenges, it is more important than ever that we build bridges when others try to put up walls. That is why we want to make Windrush Day a national bank holiday celebrate the contribution migrants make to Britain. In the Green Party we are proud to be pro-migration, and we will always celebrate the many ways migrants enrich our communities and our lives.”

Jonathan Bartley, who leads the Green opposition on Lambeth council, is expected to say: “In the Green Party we believe politics is enriched by having different voices around the table, yet in Britain today those at the top only reflect a very small section of society. This imbalance needs addressing – and for the Green Party that starts at home.

“Today I was proud to launch the Deyika Nzeribe Fund to support people from different backgrounds to join the party, stand as candidates and get elected. We still have a long way to go, but I hope this step will support the Green Party to become a more diverse party where everyone feels welcomed and at home.”

The Voice has produced a special issue highlighting the 70th anniversary of Windrush. Get your copy in stores now or get the latest issue for free on the app.