Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall

I am so proud to launch the first in a series of reflections on prominent black people, starting with the life and work of a great man, Lord David Pitt. You can download a copy of the booklet here: Echoes of our past.

I have been inspired by the work of many black people throughout my life. But, I regularly meet others who don’t believe that positive black role models exist; or that black people have undertaken any significant achievements. As a special initiative through my office here at City Hall, I have planned a series of papers, which I hope will help rectify that situation, by bringing attention to a number of black people who have played key roles in shaping a better society. I wanted to take time to reflect on their achievements, and, importantly on their continuing relevance today.

I also wanted to ensure that we are all reminded of their significance. Their lives and achievements echo down the years and are lasting testament to the huge breakthroughs they made, tearing down barriers and inspiring future generations.

There is also an iBook version of the publication, which can be downloaded from iTunes.

I had the privilege of hosting the Lord David Pitt Memorial Lecture 2013 at City Hall on Friday 11 October, which was run in conjunction with the British Caribbean Association.

The evening was accompanied by a wonderful steelpan band and the beautiful singing of The Alliouagana Singers. Over 100 people packed in to the room to listen to a speech by Lord Pitt’s son, Bruce, and a lecture by Dr Gertrude Shotte, who works at the School of Arts and Education at Middlesex University.

I was delighted to welcome to City Hall His Excellency Mr Cenio Lewis, High Commissioner for St Vincent and The Grenadines; Miss Althea Vanderpoole-Banahene, Minister-Counsellor for Antigua and Barbuda; and Miss Janet Charles, Second Secretary for Dominica High Commission.

The real celebration of the night, though, was the award ceremony for the young people who carry on the pioneering spirit left behind by Lord Pitt. Last year’s winners, Dwayne Fields and Sonia Meggie, handed over the trophies to the wonderful Teisha Yo-Stella Bradshaw and, in absence, Adam Jogee, two inspiring young people who have shown unbelievable talent in the fields of Biomedical Science and Politics, respectively.

I was so proud to Chair this event, and to celebrate the talent of young people in our great country, in the presence of truly inspirational people from Britain and the Caribbean.