GPEx Equality and Diversity Coordinator candidates

As voting opens for the Green Party of England and Wales’ (GPEW) internal elections, candidates for the position of GPEx Equality and Diversity Coordinator explain why party members should vote for them.

Equality and Diversity Coordinator
Green World

Ashley Routh

Ash Routh

"I will push to make us a party where members from liberation backgrounds are heard, not just seen."

I’m Ash, I’m trans, I’m the co-chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens, and I’m standing for the Equality and Diversity Coordinator role because I believe we have major representational deficits, and I think a committed and engaged E&D coordinator can and must address this. 

We’ve run three digital conferences without meaningfully addressing the needs and concerns of many of our disabled members, and others who have difficulty accessing or engaging on our digital conference platforms. We are routinely seeing policy that directly impacts our liberation groups put forward without real consultation with those groups. We rarely make space, as a party, to hear about the discrimination that many of our members face. 

I’m standing for E&D Coordinator to change the way that we hear the lesser heard voices in the party by elevating them. I will push to allow non-GPEx liberation committee members to speak at GPEx meetings to directly hold our executive committee to account on our representational failures, and to say what needs to be heard. I will push to create a culture of consultation through every avenue of our party governance and management. I will push to make us a party where members from liberation backgrounds are heard, not just seen. 

We need to change the culture of our party to be more collaborative in nature, truly embodying ‘nothing about us without us’, by pressing policy proposers to ensure that they are meaningfully and adequately discussing policy that impacts liberation groups to speak to the relevant representative committees. 

We need to change the culture of our party from one in which policy is written with a very small audience, and major issues, errors and oversights aren’t addressed or raised until the last possible moment on the conference floor, but rather much earlier in the drafting process. 

We need to become a party that actively tackles sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, antisemitism, animal abuse, islamophobia, wealth inequality, and queerphobia, not just a party that pretends we do. 

I believe we can do little to promote and effect positive social change if our own governance, management and policy is unrepresentative at heart. As Equality and Diversity Coordinator, I will fight for this change in our party culture. 

A vote for me is a vote for: 

  1. Hearing voices from all liberation groups in GPEx meetings, as well as elsewhere within the party’s management and governance.
  2. Making conferences more accessible, ensuring that all of our members are able to attend, to be heard, and to engage meaningfully on our conference platform.
  3. Encouraging a culture change in policy writing, with greater consultation, and fewer mistakes and oversights in policy proposals making it onto the agenda, and onto our conference floor, before being addressed.
  4. Promoting the idea that policy that relates to marginalised groups should be written by those groups, and where it is written ‘for’ those groups, that it does not harm them.
  5. Speaking truth to power, even within our own party, no matter how uncomfortable the truth.

Rashid Nix and Dzaier Nil

Rashid Nix and Dzaier Nil

"We are jointly working to make our conference and governance accessible to all members."

Rashid Nix 

Diversity is a team effort! Fortunately we have an E&D team representing disabled, LGBT, women, seniors, Jewish and Greens of Colour. All inclusive! Creating a vibrant, dynamic group brings new ideas to the table. Greens acknowledge the importance of diversity in nature, but not politics? Therefore, we remain a "white-middle-class” party criticised for being less diverse than UKIP! Embarrassing.

It’s time to diversify the Green agenda. We must take on board constructive criticism from members. As a progressive party, we cannot grow by ignoring these experiences. Our policies are bold and visionary, and our actions should reflect this. Climate change is our most pressing issue – however, within GPEW an ideological split is tearing the party apart! I am currently working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ensure our party complies with anti-discrimination legislation. GPEx-E&D requires empathy, integrity, political nous and a sense of humour! I was honoured to be elected in 2019 – if re-elected, I will continue to serve GPEW to the best of my ability. 

Dzaier Neil

As a disabled Black woman, former Paralympic athlete and social worker focusing on child protection, I gained a Javelin World Record: two gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the 1984 Paralympics, and competed in the 2008 Paralympics. Greens of Colour was dormant until we reinvigorated the group and I currently advise on the Deyika Fund, supporting people of colour becoming elected. 

Convening GPEW’s Disability Group, I added disability to our London Manifesto, and am developing the disability manifesto for future GPEW elections. I established a committee working together with GPEW Special Interest group chairs to find common ground on diverse issues. I am passionate about social justice. We focus on elites, but there is a gaping Green-shaped hole in the political system for working class people. At some point we are all likely to become disabled, either through very old age or through something happening to us in our lives. Disability rights is finally gaining prominence in GPEW, and I am jointly working to make our conference and governance accessible to all members. 

Why job share? 

Dzaier: “Rashid is a fantastic speaker. He is able to inspire and motivate people through his campaigning skills. His involvement with grassroots activism, communities, plus his unbelievable knowledge of how history shapes our culture, makes him a great asset.” 

Rashid: “Zi is no-nonsense and very straightforward. She is incredibly determined and once she sets her mind to something she will achieve it. She is loyal, very strategic and is a brilliant networker!” 

Vision 

  • Challenge the lack of understanding of E&D within leadership and members 
  • Support special interest groups to influence communications 
  • Reach members, not just through constant fundraising requests dominated by electronic communications 
  • Support local parties and regionally focussed activism 
  • Challenge GPEW lack of representation across all protected characteristics 
  • Promote affordable environmentalism
  • Promote clear staff and membership diversity data recording and reporting 
  • Together ensure GPEW compliance with equality legislation.