A momentous event. One that nobody at the time may have realized would create such a big wave. This wave is still leaving ripples in today’s society. On 6 February, 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave women in the United Kingdom the ability to vote-not an equal vote but a vote nonetheless. Of course, women were not simply fighting for the ability to vote. They were fighting for an equal vote to represent the equality they felt they were being deprived of.
In July 1928, their cries were answered and women received the right of a full equal vote. 100 years after 1918 and 90 years after 1928, the UK government announced that 2-8 July, 2018 would be National Democracy Week. A week to make sure that those who do not feel their voice is being heard receive a megaphone no matter gender, background, political beliefs, race, age, or disability.
Over 30 events were held throughout the month of July all over the country engaging people to talk about some of the key issues that surround democracy in the UK, especially post Brexit: voting, refugee and asylum seekers, governance direction, and youth involvement in politics. There was also an awards ceremony for all the organizations and people who have been dedicated to spreading the values of National Democracy Week year round. There are a few events that we are all still looking forward to, including UpRising Celebrations in Birmingham and London, and Youth Select Committee Oral Evidence!
My Life My Say, a major contributor to giving youth direct engagement with the government, entered into National Democracy Week with vigor and ambition. During the National Democracy Award Ceremony, we were excited to receive Changemaker of the Year Award.The Changemaker of the Year Award is to represent our efforts in creating and implementing effective ideas that enable more people to access the democratic system and made a change for the greater good.
For National Democracy week, we hosted two events in Port Talbot and Streatham. During these events, partnered with the London School of Economics, we discussed with young people what lessons should be learned from Brexit and where the young people would like to see the Brexit negotiations going for their future. Local MPs, Stephen Kinnock MP and Chuka Umunna MP, joined us in our discussions to help bring these youth perspectives to Parliament. These events were attended by a diverse group of young people from all over the UK with different backgrounds and ethnicities. These events gave way to many young people feeling like they have not only been heard but also widened their perspectives. The MPs gave the challenge to the young people to go out and make sure they hear opposing views besides their own. These gaps in communication and interaction only divide us. This challenge can be passed on to everybody globally. For a discussion to take place, both sides of the discussion need to be heard, interacting, and evolving together.
We would like to say thank you to those past, present, and future who fought, are fighting, and will fight against inequality.
Your voice matters! #TalkDemocracy