WITH OVER 20 years of public service under her belt, Birmingham’s ground-breaking Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Yvonne Mosquito, remains on a mission to encourage the empowerment of black communities in Birmingham and beyond.
While continuing to follow her hectic schedule of events, launches and special guest appearances, the second citizen in the second city, remains as vocal a commentator on the changing socio-political climate as ever.
“As a community we need economic strength and to build our connections with Africa and the Caribbean. We are living in an increasingly hostile environment: just look at the treatment given to Meghan Markle and MP Diane Abbott, for example.
“Diane is the most trolled politician in the UK – she receives more negative messages on social media than all the rest of the MPs combined. She is constantly being attacked by the mainstream media. We are seeing the re-emergence of the far right, not just in the US, but in Europe and on our own doorstep.
So many of the systems in the UK are not working for us – just look at the continued high level of expulsions of our young people from schools and presence in alternative educational provisions.
“When I first became a councillor in 1996, we saw similarly high numbers of school leavers with no qualifications, so it wasn’t surprising to see the explosion in gangs and anti-social behaviour that followed.
“We need to know how to build our own base and support systems so we do not have to rely on others but be able to self-determine. Look at the example set by (American actor/ writer/ director) Tyler Perry: he was rejected by Hollywood, but he kept on and now has his own studios.”
In that vein, the Deputy Lord Mayor is proud to see the emergence of her daughters’ (Amelia and Alicia Mosquito) “unashamedly Christian” business, Omega Funeral Services Ltd. Based in the Nechells area of the city, and on the verge of opening additional premises in Kingstanding and West Bromwich in the neighbouring Sandwell district, Omea has competed 35 burials, including the funeral of the sisters’ grandfather, aiming to provide quality but affordable services and stop the incidence of overcharging that their mother speaks against passionately.
“I have come across too many exam- examples of our people getting ripped off and been given a poor service at the most critical of times. I am so proud of my daughters, as I am of all of those who are leveraging education, which is critical to help us build an economic infrastructure.
“We are seeing young people achieving, but not in enough numbers. It is important that they can grasp the importance of striving despite the opposition they will experience on their way to working towards their goals.” Her comment about achieving despite opposition formed the perfect segway to questioning whether being appointed Lord Mayor in May 2018 was vindication for the controversy in which she lost her post as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner less than three years before.