Hackney’s first ever young speakers out to make the youth voice heard

PUBLISHED: 16:50 25 January 2018

Kamani Williams and Rose Ilunga, Hackney's new young speakers. Picture: Hackney Council

Kamani Williams and Rose Ilunga, Hackney's new young speakers. Picture: Hackney Council

Sean Pollock Photographer

Youngsters in Hackney have been given a new voice – or two – after the unveiling of the borough’s first young speakers.

Rose Ilunga, 16, and Kamani Williams, 18, were welcomed into the chamber at the full council meeting last night and gave speeches about how they intend to shake things up for their generation.

Both were voted onto the youth parliament last year by their peers. Their role will be to help improve the lives of youngsters in the borough by championing the youth voice.

They will also aim to get more youngsters interested in politics and will be visiting schools and youth hubs over the next few weeks to hear people’s views.

Rose said: “My priority is to spread the word that living in Hackney doesn’t and shouldn’t limit your future.

“We need to stop the stigma relating where you grew up and what you can achieve. I also want to appeal to the young women of Hackney and continue the journey to self-acceptance and self-praise.

“I personally don’t want to conform to the passive position society has pinned on me and what better than becoming a young speaker! Especially since this year marks 100 years since the works of Pankhurst and Fawcett were acknowledged and women were granted the vote. What an honour!”

The two speakers will attend council meetings and events with mayor Phil Glanville and speaker Soraya Adejare to promote the borough.

Kamani said: “There are three things I wish to focus on. I want to help end the stigma of mental health and highlight mental health needs of young people to improve the support on offer.

“I also wish to learn more about how the socio-economic position of families affects young people in the borough and if an increased political youth voice can change this and level the playing field for future outcomes.

“Thirdly I wish to talk to those from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds about barriers, as well as promoting inspirational stories to help motivate and encourage other young people to be a positive force.”

Anyone who fancies being the next young speaker can stand in the youth parliament election in October. For more information email or check out the Young Hackney website.

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