Iftar and launching Labour’s Broxtowe Borough Council election campaign by Beeston North candidate Ed Lyons
This month we were honoured to be invited to share the Iftar, the communal breaking of the fast, with Broxtowe’s Kashmiri and Bengali community and launch our local election campaign with Labour Party chair Ian Lavery. This was a celebration of our unity through diversity – a conversation about race relations, Broxtowe and the campaign to come.
Melesia Burchall, our candidate for Chilwell East, spoke of her Jamaican heritage and her mother’s wise words: “If you don’t get involved in politics you can’t moan about politics.” Far from moan, Melesia spoke for every Labour candidate and member in the room when she said: “We will build a community, a borough and a country that works for the many and not the few.” Her message of hope, of overcoming barriers and the transformative power of the Labour movement rose above party politics and became about life.
It was his life, and the life of his community, that our candidate for Nuthall East and Strelley Sheikh Assab spoke of – the tireless work of generations of Kashmiri and Bengali business people. He spoke of the unity we have in our collective diversity, shown in the Iftar, as Muslims and non-Muslims ate together as a united community.
This unity has not been broken even as the Tories have devastated the NHS and welfare state, attacked the Windrush generation and allowed rampant Islamophobia to go unchallenged, seeking to divide race from race and faith from faith. As Ian Lavery said: “The Tories rule by dividing people, Labour leads by uniting them”.
But we cannot unite people with rage. Co-founder and executive director of the Nottingham race, education and anti-poverty charity Himmah, Sajid Mohammed, called on us all to “embed political action into our everyday lives” and act to change the system.
As our prospective parliamentary candidate and Beeston West councillor, Greg Marshall, and Beeston Rylands councillor Dawn Elliot explained, it is a system in urgent need of change in Broxtowe.
“The Broxtowe Tories have cut council services and left people at risk without support, seeking to divide neighbour against neighbour,” said Greg. “Labour will not allow this to happen.”
“While the Tories divide and rule, Labour unites people to act for a better society and a better life for their families,” added Dawn. “Labour will unite Broxtowe for the benefit of the many and not the few.”
Chilwell East candidate Shaun Dannheimer
“I don’t generally attend religious events but I’m glad I went along to share the Iftar. I had several interesting conversations with new friends, listened to some rousing speeches and had some very nice food! I was impressed with how well the event was organised and look forward to more Labour events with an even bigger and even more diverse group of people.”