Black history & cultural diversity petitioners win at the Your UK Parliament Awards

Nell Bevan, Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson, Yacoub Yasin and Cynthia Muthoni  have won the inaugural Petition Campaign of the Year Award at the Your UK Parliament Awards.

The nomination follows their campaigning on the issue of Black history and cultural diversity in the national curriculum.

Nell, from Kensington and Chelsea, and Esmie, from Wimbledon, started the petition Teach Britain’s colonial past as part of the UK’s compulsory curriculum which received more than 268,000 signatures.

Yacoub Yasin, from Westminster, started the petition Making the UK education curriculum more inclusive of BAME history which received more than 25,738 signatures.

Cynthia Muthoni, from Oxford,started the petition Add education on diversity and racism to all school curriculums which received more than 89,000 signatures.

The campaigners gave evidence to the Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee as part of a joint inquiry, prompted in part by their petition. The Committees put the campaigners’ evidence to Minister of State for Education Nick Gibb MP in a later session, and the Committee’s work on this issue will continue with sessions with primary and secondary students in the Spring. The Petitions Committee will schedule a debate on these petitions once this work has been completed.

Nell and Esmie also set up the Impact of Omission initiative to campaign on this issue. Their website contains information about campaigning, links to teaching resources, and they have carried out a survey to hear about other students’ experiences, which has received more than 56,000 responses. They have used the results of their survey to raise awareness of the issue and their campaign.

Other nominated petition campaigns included: Marcus Rashford MBE for Child food poverty, Ashley Greenwood for Supporter attendance at football matches, James Zammit-Garcia and Jessie Zammit, Bethany Power and Emily Tredget, for Maternity leave and pay during Covid-19, Clotilde Rebecca Abe and Atinuke Awe for Black maternal healthcare and mortality. The other nominees have all been Highly Commended, in recognition of their efforts.

The 4th annual Your UK Parliament Awards recognise the individuals across the UK who have taken democratic action on the issues they care about. There are six categories, which celebrate individuals, schools, and organisations who have made a difference in their communities and beyond.

Catherine McKinnell, Chair of the Petitions Committee said:

“My heartfelt congratulations go out to these petitioners for their incredible campaign. The entire Petitions Committee were impressed by their organisation, determination and passion, and our scrutiny of the Government on this issue has been strengthened as a result. This campaign is a testament to the power of petitions to raise awareness of issues that might otherwise struggle to be heard in Parliament.”

The winners will receive a commemorative trophy and all nominees will receive a certificate to celebrate their achievements.

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Caroline Nokes said:

“It is a pleasure to support Esmie, Nell, Cynthia and Yacoub for the Petition Campaign of the Year award. They collected hundreds of thousands of signatures across their three petitions, highlighting this important issue not only to us as MPs but also to the wider public. As witnesses they were very impressive and contributed to a very interesting and thought provoking session. I hope that their story inspires other young people to engage with Parliament, whether that’s through the petitions system, contacting their local MP or contributing to a Select Committee inquiry.”

The petitioners are available to interview, please contact the Petitions Committee press officers on the number below.

Further information on the awards can be found here.

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