Young Greens Executive Committee Questions – 13/07/20

In the run up to the Campaigns Coordinator election, I answered these questions asked to me by the Young Greens Executive Committee.

Young Greens are the youth and student branch of the Green Party. They aim to harness the energy and ideas of young people, and change the direction of our society towards a sustainable and just future.

They are now published here for all members to read. Please feel free to ask me a question

  1. Why did you decide to stand for GPEx? What’s your vision for the Green Party, and how will you help us get there?

I decided to stand for GPEx, and in particular the Campaigns Co-ordinator role because in the last couple of years I’ve felt a total disconnect from the membership to the Executive. Decisions have been made without consultation of the wider membership, lack of transparency and accountability and almost non-existent representation from diverse and marginalised groups.

For far too long, I have attended demonstrations and supported campaigns where the Green Party has appeared to be in the background. It’s time for the party to have an equal stake in campaigning, especially when we have the right policies to back our actions up! 

Recent attacks on our basic human rights have shown that more than ever we need campaigners to face threats head-on and mobilise people for a progressive alternative. It is important our campaigns are relevant and spearheaded by people with lived experience.

One of my first priorities would be to support the staff by creating a process to ensure we are more responsive in our comms, through producing reactive video and social content for when events happen (like government announcements and campaign wins) and that members have a stake in this. I’d really like to set up a group of members who are interested in campaigns and press work who can quickly draft statements or create content that can be passed to staff for sign off or posted in our leaders names. This would support the staff by ensuring there was diverse and creative content for our channels.

I am a progressive and radical campaigner, a believer in direct action, and an advocate for diversity and inclusion of marginalised groups. I’ve led many high-profile campaigns and I work full time in civil society so I’m the right person to get us there.

2. Why should Young Greens vote for you?

Young Greens are not one homogenous group, so I would never assume that all Young Greens think the same way, or vote the same way. I would not expect all Young Greens to vote for me, but I can give you some good reasons as to why you might like to.

I am a former Young Greens Co-Chair. I was elected to this role alongside Ben Parker during the period 2017-2018. During this time we also held the Young Greens seat on the Green Party Executive Committee (GPEx), so I am experienced in how it is structured, and how it works. As Co-Chairs of the Young Greens, Ben and I worked really hard to re-invigorate and re-energise a strong Young Green presence after a difficult 2017 General Election left member engagement at a low.

We launched the Young Greens Candidate Community, a platform aimed at supporting more Young Greens to be elected into local government and we facilitated a fantastic practical and skills-based 30 Under 30 scheme, seeing many participants go on to be further involved in the party.

As Co-Chairs we led the Young Greens EC to run priority campaigns about Reforming Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and on ending immigration detention. The #PeopleNotNumbers campaign saw us build relationships with allied campaigning groups to lead demonstrations to Yarl’s Wood and produce a report investigating the hostile environment and forced deportations.

We worked really hard to build bridges with groups and bodies in the main party, the benefits of these relationships becoming clear already as we secured the Young Greens access to support and resources previously untapped. There’s still lots of work to be done in this area and my experience doing this in the Young Greens puts me in good stead to do this as Campaigns Co-ordinator too.

3. How do you plan to support and work with the Young Greens in a way relevant to your role if you get elected? How will you ensure that young people’s voices are heard and supported on GPEx?

I will make efforts to bridge the gap between party groups and factions and the Executive, to ensure our campaigns are evidence-based, relevant and formed through interactions and partnerships with pressure groups, civil society and people with lived experience.

I would start by going back to basics. Re-building relationships between GPEx and different groups in the party. Firstly, the Campaigns Committee and campaigns staff, but also liberation groups, regions of England and Wales, and of course Young Greens who are achieving real change and results through your campaigning efforts on an ongoing basis.

Now I’m not suggesting our campaigns should be coordinated as it’s very important that groups have their own autonomy, but we should support each other with allied messaging, timing and should have clear communication channels to amplify each other’s campaigning work.

As I mentioned earlier, I would like to set up a group where we could write, to ensure diverse and creative content for our communication channels. Alternatively, this group could reach out to groups in the party to gain quotes, campaign ideas or pledges in order to amplify the messages of people with lived experience through the party’s main communication channels. I would love for Young Greens to be part of this group. I’d really love to create opportunities for Young Greens who are established campaigners, or who are completely new to the party to speak out and have their say through mainstream media channels.

Finally, I’ve done this before. I have held the position of Young Greens Co-Chair, as part of the GPEx. I work full-time for a youth campaigning organisation, assisting young people to take action and speak out. I’m no stranger to speaking up for the rights of young people and I will continue to prioritise youth rights and interests wherever I go.

4. What do you think, with reference to the role you are standing for, the Green Party should do to become better at attracting and mobilising young people and students?

In order to appeal to the mass public, our campaigns need to stay relevant. And that’s not just in the issues and campaigns we tackle, it’s in the strategies we use and the different channels and mediums we use to engage others.

Young people have taken the world by storm in recent years. The climate strike movement is one of the fastest growing campaigning movements I have seen in my lifetime, and one that has captivated the globe due to being totally spearheaded by young people. The Green Party have been slow to respond, often in the background of demonstrations and missing the chance to work alongside these movements.

To stay relevant, we need tailored messaging to groups in different areas of England and Wales, and targeted messaging to different demographics, not being afraid to innovate using new channels and media.

Ultimately, these decisions lie with our excellent communications staff, however I would coordinate with the staff to ensure new, diverse channels of communication are accessed with tailored messages on different platforms to ensure our campaigns are attractive to new, young first-time voters and are reaching people we have not been able to reach before.

Then there is the issue of our spokespeople. Who are our spokespeople? How are they chosen? How representative are they? I aim to get to the bottom of this minefield of questions and ensure we start putting forward young, diverse candidates with lived experience of the issues they are chosen to represent. People need to see people like them in media to be energised and awakened by a cause. To have young, diverse spokespeople would attract and mobilise more young people and students as we would connect to people in ways we haven’t before. The more personal we can be, the better we will connect.

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