Birmingham’s new Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities, Cllr John Cotton, reflects with pride on how the city unites in celebration.
I’m not sure if it’s down to the long overdue sunshine but Birmingham seems to be in something of a party mood at the moment.
Whatever the cause, its good news as we look towards a packed summer schedule of events that I believe will show our wonderful city at its very best.
Last weekend Victoria Square was moving to a Reggae Reggae beat as Birmingham enjoyed the Levi Roots Caribbean Food Festival.
This week we’re looking forward to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and of course Birmingham Pride – the largest free gay and lesbian event in the UK. At the same time, we’ve also got the Lord Mayor’s Show and the Young Readers’ Festival. It’s a fantastic programme of events that will be enjoyed by many thousands of people.
But I tell you what always strikes me when we host these celebrations. When we Brummies party, we party together.
Whatever the event, be it Vaisakhi, Carnival, St George’s Day or St Patrick’s, the revellers come from communities across our city. We share in celebrating each other’s festivities and special occasions. Each of us, with our own rich blend of heritage and experience, brings something to the party.
It’s easy to take that unity for granted. But it’s a very precious thing, something we should value and celebrate. And it’s one of the many things that make me proud to be a Brummie.
Part of my job description as Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities, is “to promote shared values and mutual respect across the diverse communities of Birmingham.” In short, my job is to make sure that we protect that precious unity – and help to make it grow.
Now it would be naïve to suggest everything is perfect – like every modern, diverse city in the world we face challenges. But we have a strong foundation to build upon. I want to work with our partners to ensure that every Brummie, whatever their background and wherever they live, has the chance to enjoy all that our city has to offer and to make the most of their talents. That’s the challenge we’ll be taking on in the weeks and months ahead.
So, I hope you all enjoy the extended Bank Holiday Weekend. I’m confident that yet again, we will see our fantastic city of Birmingham at its very best!