Newham Citizens leader Caroline Verdant on the 3 things that inspire her to be brave and fight injustice
Caroline Verdant is a Citizens UK leader in Newham, East London (TELCO chapter). Here she tells us how she found her passion for community organising and the three things that inspire her to be brave and fight injustice.
I first got involved in community organising through St Antony’s Catholic Primary School, where I work as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant and Performing Arts Shadow Lead. For the last 20 years, St Antony’s have worked with Citizens East London chapter, TELCO, to campaign for local justice and issues like a real Living Wage. I was invited to get involved with Citizens a number of years ago and started attending rallies where I’d see hundreds of people with banners, making noise outside Westminster.
In those earlier years, I wondered what it was all for. Why was I going to these rallies? Who were the people I voted for and what was I really voting on? Asking myself these questions often left me feeling hopeless and wondering what role I could play in helping my community.
Fast forward to today, I'm a completely different person to when my organising journey first started. My confidence has grown so much, where I can now share my own experiences with bigger audiences, set agendas, chair meetings and speak with politicians, while believing that I can lead and change the lives of my community.
These are just three of the things that have inspired my journey to be empowered and brave enough to speak out and help my community.
Co-sign our letter to Housing Minister Robert Jenrick so no homeless person is left behind in the pandemic
Homeless people across the UK are at risk of losing emergency temporary accommodation and returning to the streets.
While the Government have reinforced their aim to support homeless people after contract for temporary accommodation services end, the extending of housing support will only be available to those who qualify for welfare benefits.
Thousands of homeless people who are currently housed in hotels around the country don't have access to public funds (No Recourse to Public Funds). This means they can't access vital services like Universal Credit and key parts of the NHS.Read more
Citizens UK releases a statement on the murder of George Floyd, and a call to redouble efforts in tackling issues of structural racism affecting black people.
Clive Foster, Nottingham Citizens leader and Senior Minister Pilgrim Church said:
"The dreadful video showing the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, while in police custody in Minnesota, USA has caused widespread revulsion and reaction around the world.
As New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "he was killed because he was black".
Sadly this is just not an isolated incident but the result of decades of structural racism.