Citizens UK

As a part of Citizens UK, several representatives from Handsworth Wood Girls’ Academy participated in the West Midlands Citizens Mayoral Assembly where over 900 of us packed the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham on 29th March 2017.  

Founded in 2013, West Midland Citizens is an independent alliance of a diverse group of members that act together for the common good and we, Handsworth Wood Girls’ Academy, are fortunate enough to be 1 of only 24 institutions to be involved.

Our evening began with a brief presentation on what life is like as a university student and how to effectively get through what could be the most stressful time of our lives. The student ambassadors from UOB then guided us around the outstanding university, informing us on the ancient history of the buildings and resources within the university. Then we were lead into the Great Hall where were we greeted with three wonderful performances from One Voice Choir, the UOB Gospel Choir and the Perry Beeches Academy Choir.

Rows upon rows of ordinary citizen from the West Midlands (us included) joined to listen to the powerful reflections and stories from our possible future leaders on priorities to make our families better off and our region more inclusive. Candidates from both the Labour party - Sion Simon - and Conservative party – Andy Street - delivered their responses to the priorities. Both candidates aimed to persuade the people that in 5 weeks’ time, when our region will go out to vote to decide who will be the West Midland’s first ever Metro Mayor, that it should be them.

In addition to the 2 candidates, we had 35 speakers from across our communities (25 of whom spoke for the first time in an assembly.) The speeches included moving testimonies from 17 year olds Wellington Obi & Salman Ahmed on Free travel, Sara & Shanella on UBI, Eric on Living Wage, Monara & students on ESOL, Abdul Elmi on migrant entrepreneurs and Adella on why we should vote. Special recognition Awards were also given to Peter Coates (Managing Director) of National Express for paying the Living Wage and Marc Reeves of Trinity Mirror for backing our campaigns and enabling us to tell our stories better. To conclude the assembly, the launch of the community sponsorship pilot in the West Midlands by the Methodist Church & KSIMC Birmingham was announced. 

By Taslima Year 10