Representatives from Slough Youth Parliament (SYP) joined young people from around the country to address the issue of equality and inclusion in our society.
The group attended the British Youth Council’s (BYC) Equality For Us, Inclusion For All convention at the London offices of Amnesty International on Friday 26 October, to explore what equality is, and how it affects young people, as individuals and groups; as well as the importance of why the fight for equality continues.
The event, which is now in its eighth year, also gave attendees the chance to join interactive, issued based workshops and sessions examining equality and inclusion, democracy and the European Youth Goals.
BYC recognises that some groups are either under-represented or discriminated against in our society; particularly women, young people of faith, and those in black and minority ethnic, disabled and LGBT groups.
So as part of their commitment to combat discrimination and to promote an active equal opportunities policy, they provide specific opportunities for members of these groups so that with targeted support, they can work to combat inequality in society.
Equality For Us, Inclusion For All also offered these communities prominent platforms on the day to share ideas and experiences and propose ways to support each other; as well as help BYC as a whole determine its policy and campaigns in these areas.
SYP, which is made up of 11-19 year olds from across Slough, and includes members from under-represented groups; decided to attend this event as they felt it tied in with one of their five manifesto pledges for the year.
Along with wanting to make Slough a more environmentally friendly town and reduce the stigma around young people’s emotional and mental health needs and improve local support services, they want to make the town safer and more inclusive for young people.
Raakhi Sharma, 17, from SYP, said: “With SYP’s manifesto priority to promote equality for all and empower young people to feel safer in their communities, it was great to have this fantastic opportunity for young people to come together, share experiences and support each other.
“I found the event to be such an inspiring day where I got the chance to have multiple debates about women in the world of work and the representation of British Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in society.”
Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for children and education, added: “I am in awe of our youth parliament members, who are working hard alongside their studies, to drive positive change across the borough.
“Time and time again, the young people of Slough demonstrate their commitment to the big issues affecting the wider community.
“We are proud of their continued dedication to challenging inequality and the support they provide in giving a voice to the members of society who are under-represented or face discrimination in their daily lives.”
The Slough Youth Parliament is supported by Slough Borough Council’s Young People’s Service. To find out more, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org