Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme Graduate – Inaugural Year 2016 – 2017
I am a devoted Labour Party member, a socialist, a trade unionist and a believer in our Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
We belong to a party that is in urgent need of unifiers. I am a unifier. This modern wave of activism under Jeremy Corbyn has driven Labour Party membership through the roof. It is an undeniably positive dimension of our political movement. As our society and our Labour Party evolves and adapts, we must remember that internal debate is the sign of a healthy political movement.
I have deeply-held Labour Party values alongside personal experiences that demonstrate my grit, passion and ability.
As a daughter of Windrush parents, I have felt rage against this Conservative government that sought to debase and humiliate a rich and vital part of our society. People who look like me, and sound like me: British Citizens.
As a single mother I have fought school cuts to my child’s education, and I continue to fight against cuts to education and am against academisation.
As a daughter to elderly parents I have fought side by side with the many to keep vital health services in the face of cruel Conservative cuts and am against privatisation.
As a Councillor I have juggled opinions, beliefs, business interests and community benefits. I have spoken out against injustices and advocated on behalf of others.
When Jeremy came to Lewisham I was in the front row cheering him on with many of my friends.
In my campaign last year I received support from all sides of the party because I have a proven track record. I work hard, I speak up for community groups and against developments when I feel that they are not the right decision for Lewisham people.
It has often been said that I’m a good, genuine person who will always fight for her community. People know that if there is a campaign, meeting or canvassing session, I will be there. I am reliable. My work ethic and ability to connect with people means I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum.
In the 2018 local Council election I had the highest percentage of votes of all 54 councillors in Lewisham. I am so proud of that and I thank all those who voted for me. I give thanks to all our party members for all their hard work in the council elections in May. Such total victory comes from all Labour members working together.
I believe we should have difficult debates behind closed doors and make a decision and stick to it. That’s what I did as Labour Group chair. I was an effective Chief Whip and this was because I believe that we must treat everyone in the Labour Party family with respect, even when tough decisions have to be made.
I ran to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham in 2017 because I believed I could make a difference. I ran because of who I am, a passionate black woman whose personal beliefs are people driven. I deeply care about Lewisham and I understand our community.
I support Jeremy Corbyn. I support our shadow cabinet. I want to see a Labour government because the suffering of the many has gone on too long under the Conservatives. I will fight for the many, stand shoulder-to-shoulder and campaign with them, and be a unifier. I am a unifying person.
I represent no faction, I represent New Cross.
I represent no sect, I represent Lewisham.
I believe our party, the Labour Party working together, and working with the Unions, we can achieve great things.
I am a single parent who has lived in Lewisham for 35 years. My parents came to England from Jamaica in the early 1960s, each in search of a better life. They are both retired. My Dad was a mechanic who later in life retrained to become a black taxi driver and my Mum was a nurse in the NHS. I am the eldest of their four children. I was the first in the family to go to university after receiving a grant from Lewisham Council.
I am active within the community, and have previously been a local primary school governor, and PTA Secretary for a Lewisham secondary school. I have worked in I.T since 1991 as Desktop Support Officers, Service Manager, Project Manager and Data Analyst, in large global companies. Through my roles I have lead teams and projects in Europe, Middle East & Africa. I hold a degree in Physical Sciences with Computing, and also a Law degree. I was called to the Bar after successfully completing the Barrister Course in 2006.
I care about supporting our local schools and teachers to give the best education, and develop our children to their fullest potential; improving and increasing affordable housing; engaging our young people and ensuring they have the services they need. I want to work towards improving employment and apprenticeship opportunities locally.
In 2013 I was selected to be one of the Councillor Candidates for New Cross Ward. I also became the Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) CLP Office, which enabled me to work with BAME members on what they felt was important, for example demystifying how the local Labour party worked and associated abbreviations and acronyms, keeping them informed of what was happening locally and nationally.
In the 2014 Councillor Elections I was elected a Councillor for New Cross Ward. and became a London Borough of Lewisham Councillor. Where I work hard to help those in my Ward and for Lewisham.
Since becoming a member of Lewisham Council I was elected by my fellow Councillors to be their Chair of Labour Group of Councillors, and the Chair of Standards for two years. They have also elected me to be the Chief Whip of Labour Group of Councillor and their Labour Group Secretary. Since joining the Council I have sat on the Overview and Scrutiny Business Panel, Overview and Scrutiny Educational Business Panel, Children Young & Young People, Safer & Stronger Communities, Public Accounts, Appointments, Constitutional Working Party, Planning Committee, Standards Committee.
I am Cabinet Member for Parks, Neighbourhoods & Transport (Job Share) – Responsible for Arts, Sports, Leisure, Culture, Town Centres, High Streets, Night Time Economy Strategy, Parking Enforcement, Highways & Transport.
I am also the Secretary and an executive member of the National Association of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Councillors, which is a cross party organisation.
Cllr Brenda Dacres BSc. (Hons.) LLB (Hons.) Pg Dip.