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.