Green Councillor for Eastville Lorraine Francis was recently featured in a Local Government Association (LGA) article about Black History Month which shared the voices and views of black councillors from different parties. You can read her contribution below – the full piece is here.
As a black woman, I am still excited about being elected as a Green councillor in May 2021, in an area of Bristol that has typically voted in a different way.
It is that time of the year when ‘featuring black people’ is upon us, as if black people only exist during the month of October!
In my workplace outside of the council, Black History Month is a secular event managed by people of colour.
For those of us who are committed to equalities and wiping out racism, every year I do experience some sadness at having to ‘celebrate’ this month instead of just being able to be part of the fabric of an inclusive society.
As a local councillor, I aim to practise what I preach, immersing myself into the culture of the area, being visible and ensuring that my residents are able to see me as a black woman who is proud, accessible, and inclusive.
Being a Green councillor is also vitally important to me as there is a false stereotype that people of colour are not outward looking and not interested in the environment – when most of our ancestors and parents came from countries where the land and environment was an important part of their everyday experience.
My mum often spoke about having to walk for miles to collect water and travelling to school without the benefit of public transport.
I care – we care – and as a black woman who is an elected councillor, I love the richness I can bring and share with all the residents within the ward where I sit.