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"Wixii qoran baa quruumo hadhee, muxuu hadal qiimo leeyahay." Somali
"Words fly, but scripts stay - for centuries." English

Disenchanted BME voters could swing general election

In this tightly fought snap election, the Black Minority Ethnic (BME) vote could be a determinant winning factor, writes Abdi Mohamed.

According to Operation Black Vote (OBV), in order to understand ‘the potential political power’ of BME voters, one needs to look at marginal seats. Constituencies which have sizeable BME voter populations, such as Bristol West, are target battlegrounds between the rival parties.

Bristol West – which includes Ashley, Bishopston and Ashley Down, Central, Clifton, Clifton Down, Cotham, Easton, Hotwells and Harbourside, Lawrence Hill and Redland – is home to the largest BME population in the city.

Bristol City Council data shows that in Lawrence Hill, and ‘St Pauls Grosvenor Road’ in Ashley, 55% and 80% of all people belong to a BME group respectively.

A recent report by OBV, ‘Power of the Black Vote in 2017’, also notes that the BME voter population (25.48%) in Bristol West is three times higher than the majority of the current MP, Thangam Debbonaire (8.83%). So particularly in Bristol West, and to varying degrees in other cities and towns across the UK, BME voters can seriously sway the outcomes of the general election. (more…)


Bristol Youth Raised £500 for Somaliland Drought

A. O. Boobe – Somaliland youth from Bristol and Cardiff participated a football tournament held at St Pauls Sports Centre on Sunday, 19 February 2017, which was aimed to fundraise money for people living in drought-stricken areas in the eastern regions of the Republic of Somaliland.

Eight teams (seven of them from Bristol and one representing the Somaliland community in Cardiff) played tournament games which was organised by Abdi Ali, a prominent Somali youth leader in Bristol, in conjunction with Yusuf Warmahaye, a local business man, and Bristol Horn Youth Concern, a local voluntary and community organisation.


Cardiff player takes on Bristol defender – Somaliland youth


Dhalinyarada Bristol oo £500 ugu Deeqay Abaaraha Gobollada Bariga Somaliland

A. O. Boobe – Dhalinyarada reer Somaliland ee ku nool magaalada Bristol iyo Cardiff ayaa shalay ka qaybqaatay tartan kubadda cagta ah oo lacag loogu ururinayay dadka waxyeeladu ka soo gaadhay abaaraha ba’an ee ku habsaday gobollada bariga Somaliland.
Tartankan oo ay soo wada qaban qaabiyeen Cabdi Cali oo kamid ah hormuudka dhalinyarada Somaliland ee Bristol, ganacsade Yuusuf Warmahaye iyo ururka Bristol Horn Youth Concern, waxa ka qaybqaatay sideed kooxood – toddoba ka socday Bristol iyo mid ka yimid Cardiff.


Cardiff player takes on Bristol defender – Somaliland youth

Fikirka ah in la qabto tartan noocan ah waxa iska lahaa dhalinyarada, waayo waxay ka damqadeen dhibaatooyinka iyo waxyeelada ay abaaruhu u gaysteen dadka iyo xoolahaba. Cabdi Cali isagoo ka hadlayay sida uu fikirkani ku yimid wuxuu yihiin: “Habeen anigoo daawanaya Horn Cable TV ayaa waxa soo galay barnaamij ka hadlayay abaaraha ku habsaday gobollada bariga Somaliland, waxaanan dareemay duruufaha adag ee ay dadkaygu ku jiraan iyo dhibaatooyinka abaaraha.” (more…)

Bristol MPs speaking at the launch of the Somali cultural exhibition

Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West, and Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West, speaking at the launch of the #Somali cultural exhibition, ‘Somalis in Bristol: Where are we from and who are we now?’ at the M Shed.

#CharlotteLeslie MP: “Ignorance makes people fearful. When actually – when people get to know each other – the ways in which we’re different is magnificent and enriching. And actually there are so many ways we are exactly the same.”

Thangam Debbonaire MP: “Part of what makes Bristol great is our cultural life, another part of what makes Bristol such a wonderful place to live is our diversity.”

BME: EU – In or Out Debate

Bristol European Referendum Debate on Race Equality- you decide!

The EU debate, and race equality will be one of the largest discussions on the subject in Bristol.  Three racial equality organisations are teaming up to put on a European Referendum debate in Bristol on the 26th of May. Voice4Change England, Operation Black Vote and the Black South West Network are holding this crucial debate from 6:30-8:30 in the evening at M Shed in Bristol, to encourage and promote voter registration ahead of next month’s referendum.

These issues that are to be discussed will affect every person in Bristol that’s why we are encouraging a lively debate for the arguments for remaining in the EU and for those against.   Our organisations are also very keen for people from BME backgrounds to register to vote. BME individuals are often less likely to be registered to vote than non-BME people.

To register to vote click here

Our opinions are crucial in a healthy democracy, and events like these encourage more engagement from the diverse BME community in Bristol.

Sado Jirde, Director of Black South West Network, “It is vital for individuals and communities to really understand the arguments behind both the Stay & Leave campaigns to be able to make an informed decision on June 23rd. That is why we are hosting this event”

Confirmed guest speaker, Marvin Rees, Bristol newly elected Mayor

Panellist to include representatives from both the Stay & Leave campaigns including elected members of parliament.

The debate is also supported by Up Our Street, Babassa Inc, Hope Not Hate and the Somali Forum.

Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm

Date : 26th May

Address :  M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN

Contact BSWN press office: 07825348976

Manage euphoric mood, help new Bristol mayor Marvin Rees deliver his plan

Abdi Mohamed – Since Saturday, enough has been said about the election of Marvin Rees: The first elected Black and Minority Ethnic mayor in Bristol; ‘the first directly elected city mayor in Europe of African or Caribbean heritage’; the ‘working-class son of an English mother and Jamaican father’; a great day for race equality in Bristol; a symbolic victory, a new dawn, a historic moment – amongst many other adjectives. It was a historic moment, indeed, that many people have never anticipated to happen in their life time.

Arguably the implications are clear; Marvin Rees has simply challenged the ‘stereotypical Establishment figure’, which Owen Jones described as a ‘white male who followed an effortless path … into a lucrative an influential job’. But dealing with the processes of the local governance which have created exclusive environment and structures for the stereotypical figure will be more problematic.


Bristol mayoral election: Inner-city voter predictions

BSMG — As the polls closed for the PCC, mayoral and councillor elections, we asked inner-city voters what did they think about the elections and their predictions for the results – which will be announced on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Most of the inner-city voters we approached agree that the mayoral election is going to be a two-horse race. They believe if Marvin Rees is to be elected, he must win the first round of the counting; but if it goes to a second ballot George Ferguson will get elected.

Mohamed Youssuf, Ashley resident: “Bristol is a fractured city and it isn’t ready to elect a BME mayor yet.”

Fuad Taarwale, Lawrence Hill resident and Labour voter: “George Ferguson will win the mayoral election because the inner city wards, where BME [Black, Minority and Ethnic] and Labour voters mostly concentrate, have always had the lowest turnouts.”

Mohamed Abdi Sayaqle, Lawrence Hill resident and Labour voter: “Labour will retain [its minority] in the council, but George will win [the mayoral election] again because Labour doesn’t seem to have the tenacity to put Marvin in office.”

Mohamed Mohamoud, Ashley resident: “I think George Ferguson is going to come back as Marvin wouldn’t be able to win the first round of the count and because the majority of the people do not vote … Secondly, I believe the only thing that George got it right was the [controversial] Resident Parking Zone [and that is why he is going to be re-elected].”

AbdiHakim Asir, Lawrence Hill resident: “I would love to see Marvin win because he understands the issues faced by people living in our area [Lawrence Hill], but it’s likely that George will come back because of his record.”

Saed Ali, Lawrence Hill resident: “It’s very difficult to predict the results of the Bristol mayor election. If Marvin doesn’t get 50% of the votes, he will struggle [to win a second ballot]. But it seems that he will be our mayor for the next four years, because of the way that Labour worked through the campaign – and London could have its very Black mayor.

Recently we have seen two miracles:  Jeremey Corbyn (200/1) was crowned as the leader of the Labour party and Leicester City (5000/1) won the premier league. Therefore, I wouldn’t get surprised if Mayor Festus Kudehinbu (200/1), a taxi driver, becomes our next mayor.

Locally, Margret Hickman and Hibaq Jama will be re-elected [as councillors for Lawrence Hill] because of the Somali vote – and Mahadi Sharif is going to be the first Somali councillor in Manchester.”

Abdul Ahmed, Lawrence Hill resident: “My slogan is Marvin4Mayor. Not that I have a lot of expectations from him, but Marvin as a person is a change. Change in terms of the leadership of this city and in terms of the history of this city and the country. A black man filling the highest position of this city must inspire our hopeless youngsters – especially boys.”

Muhsin Baasey, Lawrence Hill resident and Labour voter: “I voted for Marvin and if he doesn’t get 50% of the votes, it will go to a second ballot which is going to be George’s. Consequently, it does mean that Bristol want George to finish the job he has started.”


Third Generation Welsh Somali Plaid Cymru Politician Gearing up for Victory – Election 2016

Abdi Mohamed – Voting has already started across Britain this morning. And the Somali voters in Cardiff, the Welsh Assembly elections will certainly give them opportunities to improve political participation and influence change. Moreover, it will empower them feel belonging, included in mainstream society as one of their beloved sons is strongly campaigning – though he is going to be a Councillor candidate in May 2017 – for a party that they have never been associated with or voted for.

Cardiff is home to a long standing Somali community who play a huge role in the life of the city. They have lived in the city since the 1850s and have served the armed forces, the NHS, schools and education institutions, service providing agencies and the voluntary sector. However, political participation has been a challenge which they could now overcome with the help of one young man. (more…)

Unrealized Dream – Poem

Amal Elmi - A poem dedicated to the recent death of 500 refugees and migrants – mainly young Somali and East African men and women – in the Mediterranean that did not even make news headlines. 

I can hear mothers crying,
Elders shouting,
Children confused.
Fathers that are deep down mourning,
But are forced to be brave.

When did this happen?
Everyone’s asking,
Who neglected our children.

They clung onto hope for a better life.
Day after day. Night after night, time slowly passed.
Frosty and frightening, yearning for the comfort of
Their families and their homes.
Patiently waiting for the glorious moment
They would reach their dream destination. (more…)

Mahadi Sharif: Torch-bearer for Manchester youth and British Somalis – local elections 2016

“We must give young people a voice; I’ll make sure that their voice is heard. Their main concern is the lack of youth centres in the city. Equally, I’m committed to working with schools to ensure that they are preparing our children the world out there.”

Abdi Mohamed – For Mahadi Sharif, the upcoming local elections are not only about improving political participation. It is, and more importantly, about embarking on a political career. But for many Somalis in Manchester it is about electing the first Somali councillor, who would in turn enable them gain access to the local decision making platforms.