School councillors/MPs from all five Trust schools had the opportunity to meet virtually with our local MP – Kate Osamor – on Friday 21st May. It was a wonderful experience for our students to listen to, and question, the former Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.
Ms Osamor began the meeting by explaining what her role as MP involved. She talked to the students about making representation for people who cannot speak publicly on their own behalf: that it was her job to speak up for the community. She also explained how challenging it could be as a member of the opposition party and not a member of the governing party (Conservative).
After a short introduction, Kate opened the floor to questions from the students. Questions were varied and inciteful. The students were interested to find out about the successes and challenges she had faced as an MP and black woman in the public eye. She explained that – although she has the platform to speak up – as she is not a member of the governing party, it is hard to make the big differences and changes she would like. She also said that the number of children and families living in poverty in Edmonton continues to challenge and affect her and that this is something she would like to make a greater impact on. The question of why primary students after Year 1 have to pay for their school lunches was raised and Kate said it was something she would be interested to challenge the Conservative party about.
With regards to her successes, Kate explained that becoming an MP – the first female MP in the area – was an achievement in itself. The job is a challenge and she has had to be confident, outspoken and resilient to make a difference. She is pleased she has been able to make the role of MP more well-known within the community. She also said that the actions of her party to support the community during the Covid-19 pandemic had made her proud: people were out, making sure the community was safe and had what they needed to survive in lockdown; making a difference to local people’s lives. With other MPs, from other parties, she has encouraged discussion about – and support for – families who come from other countries and are not given the rights to access money in this country and hopes that better methods will be found to support those who are economically disadvantaged.
The students went on to quiz Kate about her stance on Greta Thunberg, climate change and sustainability and were interested to hear that she believes not enough is being done at a quick enough rate by the government. She encouraged the students to stand up and speak out about their own beliefs – that Greta cannot make the changes all by herself, she needs the support of their generation to make a greater impact. She encouraged the staff to educate students about children in other countries and how they are tackling climate change.
Throughout the meeting, Kate encouraged the students to be political. Politics is not boring and for old white men in suits. Politics is about what you believe and feel strongly about, and what you should stand up for. The world needs the younger generation to be forward thinking and find solutions to the problems that we all face (that adults have caused and failed to resolve). She encouraged the students to contact her if they felt something in their local area – or London as a whole – was unfair.
It was a very interesting meeting and there is no doubt all our students were inspired, by Kate’s honesty and encouragement, to act and be vocal about what they believe in.