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Celebration for Bernie Grant's birthday in Tottenham tonight

BIRTHDAY: Bernie Grant

CROWDS WILL gather at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham, north London, today (Feb 17) to celebrate the late MP's 72nd birthday.

Born in Georgetown, Guyana, Grant made history in 1987 as one of the first black men to be elected into British Parliament alongside Paul Boateng, Keith Vaz and Diane Abbott.

Often hailed as a ‘People’s Champion,’ the popular and iconic figure is remembered as a man of principle who spoke his mind at all times and would often attend Parliament dressed in traditional African attire.

Leading race relations activist Lee Jasper wrote about Grant for The Voice saying: “When it comes to black representation, the late Bernie Grant MP set the bar high with his resolute commitment to fighting racism, demanding reparations and pointing out the vital importance of strategic unity among his black peers. He sought to establish the Parliamentary Black Caucus and invited the Reverend Jessie Jackson to its high-profile launch at the House of Commons in the late 1980s.”

Grant died from a heart attack on April 8, 2000, aged 56.

His funeral procession on April 18 passed through Tottenham towards a service at Alexandra Palace, pausing as it passed the Broadwater Farm estate, where the notorious 1985 riots took place.

A reported 3000 friends, family and constituents attended to bid farewell to a man whose place on the political landscape many say has never truly been filled.

Today’s celebration will be hosted at the Smooth Jazz lounge, in the Bernie Grant Arts Centre.

Attendees have been encouraged to come and share their stories and memories of the leader.

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