Corbynite group Momentum today launches a new campaign with the aim of training and supporting young Black, Asian and minority ethnic Labour members. The initiative taps into the organisation’s wider ambition of increasing diversity in the Labour Party to more accurately reflect society as a whole.
Momentum plans to provide 250 BAME people aged under 30 with press training, much like the spokesperson network NEON has coached media figures on the left such as Grace Blakeley and Maya Goodfellow, as well as campaign-building guidance and specialised support for local councillors. All of this assistance will be free for the people receiving it.
It will partner up with Operation Black Vote, NUS Black Students’ Campaign and The Media Fund to deliver the scheme, which the group hopes will encourage young BAME activists to take up leadership roles within their communities and within Momentum, Labour, trade unions and local government.
An email will go out to all Momentum members on Wednesday in a bid to get activists signed up to the programme. Applicants must self-identify as BAME, in accordance with Labour’s definition.
Corbynite Labour MP and shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis will spearhead the campaign at its February launch in parliament.
Commenting on the campaign, Natasha Josette, a BAME member of Momentum’s national coordinating group, said: “The Labour Party has an incredibly diverse membership and an estimated 90,000 BAME members, but those in elected positions within the party are overwhelmingly pale, male and stale.
“Our new campaign is a serious practical step towards ensuring that representation of people of colour isn’t just about getting brown faces in high places, but about ensuring young BAME members are reshaping the culture and policy of our party in order to better represent migrant communities and people of colour.”
Momentum has in the past campaigned for reform of BAME Labour, which is currently thought of as a society controlled by the Corbynsceptic wing of the party. The election of Keith Vaz to the NEC, as its representative on Labour’s ruling body, caused controversy when it was pointed out that just 700 of 90,000 BAME Labour Party members received voting ballots.
At party conference in September, a rule change was passed to allow all BAME Labour members to vote for their representatives – a victory for Momentum. But some activists, particularly Corbynites, were disappointed that the BAME NEC rep would not be elected by one-member-one-vote, but by an electoral college.