My address to #Lewisham’s #HMD2017, @HolocaustUK

Retard.

Gypo .

Gay.

Bitch.

Jew.

…Words. 

We tell kids, ‘Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will never hurt you‘. 

Sorry mum, Sorry dad — you were wrong, in fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. Words have power. They do hurt. 

They may not leave physical marks; but can leave scars much, much deeper. Their effects — are pernicious, with the ability to affect not just the one individual they’re aimed at, but they also have the power to polarise, 

objectify

 deny our differences 

… and even humanity.

We say things, in the playground, 

online, 

down the pub.

Thoughtless little comments,

– condemnations.

‘… it’s just banter though, innit’.

We need to be mindful, because what we choose to say and do, not only has power in that moment, but leaves a fingerprint on society, that adds — or diminishes. Words, are how we communicate and develop ideals as both individuals, and society.

The taking of power from one person, or people – all too often starts with words… then rapidly escalates: 

a shove, a push, a punch… 

a beating…

a murder…

a war….

genocide?

When we start, or let oppressive words and phrases slip unchecked and unchallenged in to the mainstream, it’s a first step – “chav”, “nasty little woman”, “extremist” — down a dark path.

“Locker room banter”, as one man recently called it, might seemingly get you ahead, but comes from pushing down on those around you, creating a culture of oppression and tyranny. But know this —

Donald,

its unsustainable. Good people exist everywhere, and we are the majority:

– good people when they realise what is going on, stand up for those who are being down trodden, and oppressed, 

– good people, and great leaders, don’t seek to oppress, they seek to raise others up, to enthuse, to inspire, to bring people together so we can collectively come up with solutions to humanities challenges.

We all have choices, we all have power. We can use our words, our actions, our power, to build a better world:

— a world where all its people can live side by side, ‘celebrating difference’

— a world where we commemorate lives lost in the atrocities of genocides, not by being passive observers in fine surroundings, 

but by honouring that memory, That loss, Through defending the good, by learning from the past, and by ensuring whenever we see oppression, we challenge it, and speak out.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Delivery may vary from text



 


Why the #WomensMarch was needed

It’s every mans responsibility to defend and extend the rights of women too

A picture of Cllr Walsh at the London Women's March holding a placard saying It’ll come to no surprise to anyone that I was supporting the Democratic Campaign for the White House, but Saturday’s #WomensMarch wasn’t “sore losers” grumbling around the world… it was feminists (of which I am one) saying – the newly elected leader of the free world has been shown to think, speak, act and behave, in a way that ‘oppresses’ women, but more crucially he hasn’t grown, he hasn’t learnt — and that’s not cool.

What he classes as ‘locker room banter’ – I and every sportsman I know, wouldn’t say. It’s vile & feral.

I think everyone had a story as to why they were moved to March over the weekend,and I summarised mine Ina quick little note to Facebook 


What I wasn’t expecting was the wave after wave of social media troll to come at me. The first of which was @OneBomb90 on twitter. I had never spoken to him before, they don’t know me, they simply chose to post this:


It’s this #everydaysexism that women and girls have to put up with, and the election of a misogynistic man to the most powerful job in the world has simply emboldened a vast swathe of hideous individuals to come out of the shadows. Men, like @OneBomb90 seem to think this kind of attitude and behaviour is now acceptable again, that the previous little furore into equality is now over; they’re back on top.

The taking of power from one person, all to often starts with words… then rapidly escalates, a shove, a push, a punch… a beating….a rape…..a murder…..genocide?

When we start, or let oppressive words (or interpretations) slip in to the mainstream, letting them go unchallenged, it’s a first step – “chav”, “gypo”, “gay”, “retard”- down a dark path.

If the Obama’s taught us anything, it was the best men and women, don’t take power, they give it. It was not the fact that Barack controlled the worlds largest super-power state that made them a powerful and a great Presidential couple… it was the fact he, and Michelle, had soft power, given not taken.  They didn’t use their influence to push people down, they actively sought to lift people up, enthuse, inspire and bring them on their journey. They understood the power of kindness, people wanted to be around them, and to give to them what they gave to others. The stark contrast between the leadership styles of these ‘back-to-back’ Presidents, is frankly ‘black and white’, (please forgive the obvious pun),  and in many ways exacerbates the issues of The 45th President of the United States. Women, The BAME Community/People’s of Color (the preferred American term) and LGBT+ Community were given a richer taste of equality under Obama, to snatch it back after its been given is going to be a bitter fight, and given the US changing demographics, if this remains a political battleground, it could be a while before the Republicans get another shot at the Presidency. 

So it seems like they’re going to be making the most of this one….The Trump Presidency has already picked a collection of Multi-Million and Billionaires to lead the Cabinet – and his response to criticism is:

“I want people that made a fortune!” Trump, Dec 2016

The result will most likely be the most neo-capitalist Government and policies the US has ever seen, unabated by House and Senate, both of which have Repulican majorities. And that raises concerns about whether fertility rights will come under attack in this new hard-right Government. Pro-Choice America reports he wants to completely ban abortions, save pregnancies through rape, incest and when a woman may die. To do it he’s going to nominate a pro-life Supreme Court Judge, whose affect will be felt long after a four or even eight year term.


Photos from #WomansMarch 

 

New Years Message

On this the final day of 2016 we take a moment to look back upon the year, and begin to ponder the 12 months ahead.

The political bit:

2016 will undeniably go down in the Walsh family annals as a year of both Highs and Lows… from the triumphant wins of Sadiq Khan to the bitter blow that is Brexit, and whilst we might collectively agree and hope for a better 2017, the runes are not looking in our favour. So we are faced with a choice: to stand and lament the actions of an omni-shambles Tory Government, or take action. I choose the latter. We need an electable, well organised Labour Party, and we need to start winning again. We’ve just three and a bit years until the 2020 General election where WE MUST, for the sake of everything good & British (The NHS; Human, Civil & Workers Rights alongside salvaging Britain’s role in the World post-Brexit) be the Party that forms the next British Government.

The local bit:

Fiscally, for Lewisham the challenges and fallout from Tories in power mean ‘£1 in every three cut’, and its the Tory aspiration to increase that to ‘£1 in every two’ by 2020. We are a ‘low income, high needs borough’ (We’re not Westminster Kensington or Chelsea, with their huge business income and affluent populations, were pretty much their diametric opposite) the perverse cutting of Local Government funding, to no longer give additional support to poorer areas is reaching crunch point, we’re scrimping and saving, but still local Government is starving.

Hope:

2017, despite its challenges will have opportunities too, we’ll be developing a new #Catford Town Plan which I’m delighted to be involved with, living in and representing your community is a true honour – Catford/Rushey Green is a beautiful place that has just been ‘under-tended’, the new plans will hopefully revitalise and rejuvenate – it’s all very exciting!

Alongside this, I’ve been asked to continue my work from Scrutiny Committee and to now sit on a Poverty Task force for Lewisham, made up in part by some great British charities and ‘think-tanks’ in this area.

Lewisham’s LGBT Forum is also finally taking shape, I’ve commissioned a piece of research into several key areas of Lewisham LGBT Life that will be reporting back in late January, but ahead of LGBT History Month. Stay tuned.

Campaigning for the Bakerloo Line Extension, and ensuring it reaches to the South of the Borough, will be a key area of work for 2017, with a side project of lobbying for the DLR to be turned 24 hour from May 2021.

Finally:

It just leaves me to say a big thank you to all my family, friends and supporters for all the kindness patience and support you’ve given me over the last year, it is upon the backs of this love and support I can find the time, energy and strength to do what I can, but without you well… 🤷🏽‍♀️

Stay safe, Happy New Year and see you soon.

Cllr James-J Walsh


Fighting racism, xenophobia and bigotry: that’s a “Peace of Cake”…

All faiths mosaic built by Lewishams Community

All faiths mosaic built by Lewishams Community


This morning I had the pleasure of sharing a good old cuppa and a piece of cake at a pan-community peace event in Catford. 


Like most brilliant ideas the concept is simple – get our communities together to bust myths and stereotypes, and build a proper community, all through the medium of shared experiences and cake!

PEACE OF CAKE EVENT – Goldsmiths Community Centre

As a born’n’bred Lewisham lad, I’ve grown up in and around diversity my whole life – I believe I’ve become a richer person from it, and I know Lewisham has too. From those vital migrant workers that keep our NHS and Lewisham Hospital going, to the work of our faith communities: Masjids and Synagogues; Churches and Meeting Houses, that have provided our young with youth groups to play in, community actions to improve our ‘health and wellbeing’, and worked tirelessly to build a united and tolerant community for us to live in. We are also blessed with scores of excellent community groups that ensure those of us either: smaller in number; or less likely to have a say, have an equal voice at the table – Lewisham’s Disability Coalition, Lewisham’s LGBT+ group, Association for Refugees in Lewisham (AfRIL), and Lewisham’s Pensioners Forum, to name but a few from a near endless list.

For those of you that know me in the slightest, you’ll know I’ve always had a strong sense of justice, and fighting inequality is something I’ve been passionate about for most of my life. I’ve never liked bullies, I certainly am not going to allow them to divide our community. The best way for us to beat these ‘bullies’ is to stand united, and don’t let complacency aide them – we are the majority.

Get involved:

Adversity brings the best out in our community time and time again and there’s loads of ways that you can show your support of a multicultural diverse community:

Talk about it: let people know that we’re better for it, the strange irony of the rise in intolerance is that’s it’s coming from those communities where diversity is often lacking. Communities like Lewisham’s that have been multicultural for decades, seen a high libel of migrants join our communities aren’t so much bothered by it, because we’ve been exposed, our presumptions confounded and crucially we’ve all lived and benefitted from it. From the fun and spectacle of things like Nottinghill Carnival to the everyday: our children being best friends, our colleagues at work coming from diverse 

Sign the Pledge: I’m proud to have got Lewisham Council to talk and do something around the rise of racism, xenophobia and bigotry, you can add your voice too. Click here to sign the pledge.

Get involved: with Hope not Hate’s More in Common campaign in Lewisham. The country was rocked and saddened by the assassination of Jo Cox MP, no more so than her Labour Party colleagues, but out of adversity comes hope, and as part of Jo’s Legacy Hope not Hate are delivering a local task forces to deliver community action activities. You can get involved in Lewisham’s here.

Host a ‘Peace of Cake’ event of your own!

The “Peace of Cake” team are keen for more community coffee mornings to be organised, so much so they’ll be producing a “How to” guide shortly on how to get a good community conversation going. To find out more visit here.

WASPI Campaign: for Women’s Pension Equality for those born in the 1950s


As a ‘younger’ man, a member of the Labour Party, and a Local Councillor: I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with #Lewisham’s WASPI (Women Against State Pension Age Inequality) @WASPI_Campaign campaigning for Women’s Pension Justice for those born in the 1950s
Women born on or after 6th April 1951 have been unfairly affected by the changes to State Pension Age in 1995, and 2011. Many have been pushed into financial hardship and shockingly most were not informed of the changes until two years before retirement, making financial planning for retirement near impossible.
If you’d like to support the campaign you can take action too:
http://www.waspi.co.uk/action

#FairIsFair #PensionEquality

Sign up to say no to xenophobia racism and bigotry…

Lewisham Labour just reasserted our commitment to fighting xenophobia, racism and bigotry, and set up a way you can join too!

Sign @LewishamCouncil’s statement against hate crime here 

Grants for community activity in #RusheyGreen, Catford

 Rushey Green Ward – Assembly Fund 2016 -17

On Tuesday evening I had pleasure in launching this years Rushey Green Assembly fund for local community led activities and initiatives, and I’m looking forward to seeing and judging all the applications that come in.

Our funding priorities are:

1. Activities and opportunities for children (under 18) and young people (under 25)

2. Increasing opportunities for older people (55+)

3. Community cohesion – including events, activities and projects designed to create a sense of community in Rushey Green

4. Culture and the arts with particular reference to improving the wellbeing of people in the Rushey Green Area

5. Improving your local area including local ‘streetscape’, environment and ecology

The deadline for completed applications is:

1st September 2016

How to apply:

For an application form and guidance on how to apply, please contact Laura Luckhurst, Community Development Officer:

Email:

laura.luckhurst@lewisham.gov.uk

Tel: ​​020 8314 3830

You can also view and download the application forms and guidance at: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/localassemblies

Rushey Green Ward Boundary

Lewisham carers celebrated with 25th anniversary tea party by MP

I was invited along to this Lewisham Carers 25th Anniversary Tea Party hosted by Heidi Alexander MP – and have now been asked to help with their fundraising efforts to support more carers in Lewisham.

From Lewisham Newshopper:

A tea party with Heidi Alexander MP and Local Carers

Lewisham Carers 25th Anniversary launch event

CARERS who provide a “life-line” in Lewisham were celebrated with an afternoon tea hosted by MP Heidi Alexander.

The tea party marked the 25th anniversary of charity Carers Lewisham which supports those caring for friends and relatives with mental and physical illnesses.

There are around 22,000 carers in Lewisham and the charity is fundraising to support them with its anniversary project Challenge 25.

Chief executive of Carers Lewisham Diana Jones Chief Executive of Carers Lewisham said: “We are really grateful to Heidi for organising this event and for her support of carers and Carers Lewisham since becoming one of our local MPs.”

Why #ISPFiltering is the wrong approach

parental control visual

My comment on ‪#‎ISPFiltering‬ – “Pointless” at the age of 10 I set up our internet service provision with our provider. I installed all the software – I set up all the hardware, my mother just looked blankly on.