On February 4th 2019, diverse citizens from communities across Wales came together for power, social justice and the common good.
The assembly involved building a relationship between Welsh Government and Citizens Cymru Wales which the first minister and some of his cabinet attended.
Citizen Cymru Wales wanted the first minister Mark Drakeford and his government to work with them on making sure every pound of Welsh Government money goes to living wage organisations and projects (£8.75), to have a revolution in social care, and to ban letting agent fees by the start of the 2019/2020 academic year.
During the assembly we heard powerful testimonies from care workers of the brutal and low paid conditions the workforce experience, from a young person who works on minimum wage of £5.90 at Principality struggling to afford costs, and a student who was charged ridiculous letting agent fees. These testimonies were very powerful and moving but also very real and needed to be tackled. After the testimonies, first minister Mark Drakeford was asked to work with Citizens Cymru Wales and tackle these issues.
On his government delivering a living wage Wales, he was very honest. He said he was very willing to work with Citizens Wales and he expected ‘a plan’ of every organisation that receives public money to become a living wage employer. He said he was willing to be patient and was very honest with his response. On the social care issue, he was very keen again to work with Citizens Cymru Wales and his response was honest. For social care to improve, higher taxes needed to be paid. For a modern society to work, its citizens need to dig deep in their pockets.
The letting agent fees ban was an easy response for the first minister to answer as the Renting Homes Bill, which would ban letting fees, being debated has passed through the Senedd and will ban letting agency fees for the start of the 2019/2020 academic year.
Representatives of faith groups, businesses and organisations in and around Wales joined to show democracy at grassroots levels which is very impactful and relevant in today’s world as politics isn’t only what we see on TV and some complex problems that the elite could talk about and solve. Politics could be done in communities and solve local issues where anyone can take part in solving issues in their areas which they care and are passionate about. This was a real assembly showing what grassroots democracy could achieve. It was fantastic to see the groups working together and attending to make a difference in wales. As any injustice anywhere or for democracy to work, people need a voice and a platform to share their opinion and have their opinions heard. So I urge you if you’re passionate about change or you’re
angry about something don’t wait for someone to do it for you. It doesn’t have to be world issues which are very relevant; it could be something small in your communities. Engage in local communities and your area to see what the issues are so you can make your lives and lives of others around you better and get justice done.
If you are curious about community organising and want to be involved in working on these issues, there is information on their website below. https://www.citizensuk.org/cymru
(This article is my own opinion on the take of the assembly).