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Jaddoo pumping up Birmingham's black vote

ENGAGING: Jaddoo is out to make the black community vote

THE MAN behind the drive to get every member of Birmingham’s black community registered to vote is getting into his stride with another voting registration clinic planned on Saturday March 2.

Community activist and founder of Birmingham Empowerment Forum (BEF) Desmond Jaddoo is showing no sign of slacking in his publicly-made promise to make sure African Caribbeans are better engaged in politics.

The next clinic will be held between 11am and 2pm at Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church, 330 Soho Road, Handsworth.

It will include a community day, giving people the chance to meet and talk with their local councillors for the Soho, Handsworth Wood, Lozells and Handsworth East wards.

Members of West Midlands Fire Service and Birmingham Community Safety Partnership will also be on hand to discuss safety in and outside the home.

It is being jointly hosted by BEF and the community group United in Building Legacy, a forum and lobbying group for the African and Caribbean community.

Jaddoo, along with Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, secretary of Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs, supported Simon Woolley, the director of Operation Black Vote when they launched the national black voting registration campaign at the New Testament Church of God in Ladywood last October.

Since then Jaddoo has been organising regular registration clinics which have resulted in hundreds of black people signing up to be ready to vote at the next General Election which is only two years away.

The black church, unlike its white counterparts, is seen as a vibrant part of the community, and has been compared to ‘a sleeping giant’ in political terms, with its many members able to influence election outcomes – provided they are registered voters.

“This is all about making sure people have a voice,” explains Jaddoo, a former Birmingham City Council housing officer, who was also an independent candidate in Birmingham’s elected mayoral campaign in 2011.

“It’s vital that people are signed up and ready. Too many times I am hearing that people want to vote and turn up at polling stations only to find they are not registered. It takes seconds to fill in a registration form.

“I’m not telling anyone who to vote for, just urging them to make sure they are engaged in the political process.”

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