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Black MPs to launch new professional umbrella body

PICTURED: Bim Afolami

BLACK MEMBERS of Parliament from both the Conservative and Labour Party will be supporting the launch of a new umbrella body for Black Professionals across the United Kingdom.

The launch comes a week after Emma Dent Coad’s comments about Conservative Shaun Bailey came to light and Black Labour MP Clive Lewis’ subsequent comments about it not being possible to “fight racism and be in the Tory party”. The event will be taking place in the House of Commons on Tuesday (Nov 21).

The African-Caribbean Alumni Network (A-CAN) will become the official body for Black professionals, helping to tackle key issues relevant to the UK’s Black population. New Conservative MP Bim Afolami and Labour Shadow Minister Chi Onwurah will act as the first official Patrons of the new body.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott is due to address the launch before taking on a role as the longest serving Black MP, whilst James Cleverly and Helen Grant will also be in attendance. Maria Miller, Chair of the Women’s & Equalities committee, will be presenting an award at the launch.

Diane Abbott MP said: “There is such an important role for Government to play in tackling racial inequality. But communities must come together and feel empowered to take the lead in ensuring their own success. This is why I am pleased to support the launch of A-CAN and I hope it goes some way in supporting better outcomes for Black people in Britain.”

Diane Abbott

The body is being coordinated by entrepreneur, Samuel Kasumu, who was the Tory candidate for Croydon North in the June 2017 elections. Kasumu said: “At a time when politics is so polarised I am so pleased that we have been able to bring together Black Members of Parliament who share at least one common goal - helping to progress an often-marginalised community.”

The umbrella body launches with an initial 20,000 black professionals within the network that were previously part of an African Caribbean Club or Society at university and who are now working within professions including banking, law, education, and government.

A-CAN will adopt a similar model to American college fraternities, with current undergraduates able to access networks for support and mentors. Examples of members include Lorraine Wright, currently Director at UBS Bank and Tom Chigbo, previously President of Cambridge Students Union, and now a Non-Executive at Amnesty International.

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