Written by: Chioma Ruche (22)
Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election to take place on 8 June since then 930,000 people have applied to register to vote. Of these, more than 390,000 were aged under 25 – 42% of the total. On the day the election was called 57,987 people under 25 registered to vote – more than any other age group. Young people from BAME groups are often isolated from mainstream politics and feel like nothing will change whoever they vote for. Who can we rely on to keep our best interests at heart? For many of us we have become disillusioned with the policies and practices of our politicians, and as the general election gets underway our uncertainty is ever growing. We are living in a time where populism dominates political discourse and in the wake of Brexit hate speech seems to be on the rise.
How can young people, especially those from ethnic minorities feel that their voices are heard and that they are valued? It is by voting that gives you the chance to inform politicians what values are important to you and what you would like to see them do. Voting ensures that you have a say in issues that really resonate with you. As a young BAME person who voted in the referendum and not seeing the result I wanted, I would like to see what the main political parties are going to do for people like me to ensure that my needs are still addressed.
So what are the main concerns of Young BAME groups in particular? As reiterated in the young people’s manifesto 2017, we want more initiatives targeting issues relating to youth employability and social mobility. Official figures show that Minority ethnic workers in UK twice as likely to be unemployed as whites and The unemployment rate was 46% for young Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers and 45% for young black people. These staggering statistics further demonstrate why we need to take action and vote. The 99% campaign has done just that encouraging a ‘Call 2 Action’ and putting forward the Young People’s Manifesto 2017. For me, the general election should focus on the issues highlighted in the manifesto.
I urge all young people to mobilise and sign up to the manifesto so we can play an active role in shaping our future.
You can read and sign up to the Manifesto here.