259 individuals from 18 member institutions staked their claim in Citizens:mk for the year ahead and heard pledges of commitment from power-holders to build ‘bridges, not walls’ between MK’s diverse communities in this, its 50th birthday year.
Mayor Steven Coventry shook the hands of each member institution’s representative as they came up to call out their institution’s commitment – people brought and dues paid – for the year ahead.
The Assembly were shown a video of the MK Council Leader’s apology for absence and accountability for actions he has taken over the past year – click here to see the video.
Jo Astor of Network Rail pledged to host the biggest-yet Living Wage Business Breakfast at Quadrant:mk on 7th November 2017, “We plan to welcome 50 Living Wage employers,” she said, “and wish the Citizens:mk campaign team every success in achieving that target.”
Having earlier performed a mime of ‘building bridges, not walls’ to John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ song by the Youth Choir of Church of Christ the Cornerstone, the pupils of Summerfield Primary School performed ‘We Built This City’ (pictured above) to great applause. “I just wish we’d all got up and danced to that one!” said Carmel Schmid, a seasoned Citizens:mk campaigner, after the event.
Harry Smith, Year 9 pupil of MK Academy, asked The Parks Trust to meet in June with members of the Redways Relaunch campaign team to plan the cutting back of bushes on the Redways to increase students’ sense of safety. In response, Alex Chapman, a trustee of The Parks Trust, said: “We are willing to be part of your campaign and initially help each school identify which of their Redway landscaping concerns we can help with. We will listen and respond quickly to any suggestions from Citizens:mk for ways we could make improvements to Redways in our responsibility.”
Following testimony from external guest Olumuyiwa Adekunle, the Fight Against Hate campaign team gave local testimony and secured important pledges from power-holders, all of whom then signed a ‘Fight Against Hate charter:
- from Arriva Buses, to run a hate crime awareness raising poster campaign on MK buses.
- from Pam Weston of Summerfield School, to run a schools poster competition to raise awareness of hate crime.
- from Liz Gifford of MK Council, to host a peer support meeting for victims of hate crimes in MK.
- from Supt Vince Grey of Thames Valley Police, to plan a restorative justice event.
Tyrone Blackford-Swaries (pictured above), recently appointed Director of MK Mental Health Services, heard testimonies and agreed to work with the Citizens:mk Mental Health campaign team, meeting quarterly, to help achieve its goals.
Leaders from the three largest political parties in MK Council – Labour, Conservative and LibDem, also pledged support for Citizens:mk’s campaigns 2017-18 and signed the Fight Against Hate charter.
In an evaluation session immediately after the event, this year’s Assembly scored 7 out of 10.