Dear Editor, Young people in Birmingham have had it tough lately. From the debates surrounding the causes of the August riots, to rising levels of youth unemployment – everywhere you turn you hear about the need to give young people a voice, for making them feel engaged and for helping them become effective stakeholders in society.
We have also heard a lot about the need for Birmingham to assert its own identity, promote strong, accountable leadership from within and recover a sense of civic pride.
The “Yes to Birmingham Mayor” campaign represents a brilliant way to create the kind of leader that can make Brummies proud to be Brummie, so why not apply the same idea to young people? How about a Birmingham Young Mayor?
We at the UpRising Alumni Advisory Board represent the kind of young people you don’t often hear about in the news. We work hard, care about our communities and believe strongly in giving the so- called disconnected youth a chance to have their voices heard. This is what we believe a Young Mayor would represent to young people; a voice that is part of the political establishment but also one of them, someone they can look up to and respect. This is why we are launching a Yes to Birmingham Young Mayor Campaign.
Young Mayors already exist in the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets as well as in North Tyneside in Newcastle. Since London already has four Young Mayors to its name it’s about time that Birmingham, the second city and Europe’s largest local authority stepped up to the mark.
We are really keen to work with other organisations, groups and individuals to make this happen so if you’re interested, know someone who is, or would like to find out more check out our website: www.http://yestoabirminghamyoungmayor.wordpress.com/. On this site you can sign up to the campaign supporters list, find out more about existing Young Mayors and what they do and why a Young Mayor would be good for Birmingham. We want to make this idea a reality and we believe that the best way to do it is by working together.
Birmingham is the UK’s youngest city. One third of our population is under 25. Birmingham needs a Young Mayor. Let’s make this happen. For more information on UpRising and the UAAB go to the website at: www.uprising.org.uk
The Birmingham UpRising Alumni Advisory Board (UAAB)
Emmanuel Akpan-Inwang, Mobeen Amin, Ranjit Bains, Henrietta Brealey, Daniel Bridgewater, Chantal Bruce-McPherson, Lee Marsham, Michael Olajide, Jessica Woodley