An Open Letter to Naz Shah

Dear Naz Shah,

I don’t know you, but I’m glad you have won. You have risen up through the sexist, derogatory campaign ran by many, to be democratically elected in Bradford. In doing so, you have given me renewed hope for a better Bradford.

A Bradford built on free discourse and open to all. Regardless of their gender, tribe, culture, race, age, past, family history, ‘biraderi politics’ or ranking in the community. Regardless of these unwritten terms of access felt by me and many others in that collection of small disparate burroughs, each with their own uniquely felt unspoken code of conducts. Though often repeated down the years, in the searching judgemental gazes of mistrusting and themselves misunderstood beings. Persons who are lost in the between the cracks of education, work and society. Worlds unknown to the rest of the UK.

As we grew up in that hinterland, which existed continually as a melting pot that was never ready. A city judged for it’s history of rioting, racial tensions and never allowed to move on or attain a place in the touristic roster.  A place where you are pre-emptively judged by the inner-city postal codes you reside in, or by the suburban towns and village if you happen to be socio-economic or culturally deemed fit and able to live in the likes of Thornton, Eccleshill, Fagley, Pudsey etc.

I myself, became in part like them. Desolate in my defeated optimism, having my trust tarnished by the continual spirals that I never thought would clear in Bradford. I felt that here was a part of me, of this beautiful country that would forever be caught in the loop of uneducated, loud, brash men, without social consciouses for their community or a belief in full gender, sexual and racial equality. A loop of continual inequalities that can never be shared or highlighted for fear of the neighbours judgements.

So thank you Ms. Shah for proving my own judgements wrong, by winning the hearts and minds of Bradford. It has only been 5 days and I am already proud that you won, that you did it on policy and that you still continue to defy the nay-sayers and ill-wishers barking at your office door.

You and your family’s plights, read by me after coming upon your open letter. I’m ashamed to say I fell into that wiki-hole of no return for hours. Reading up on you work and life fanatically. My heart goes out to your past self and your entire family, in particular your mother. Your plights read to me and echoed in parts stigmas that I have encountered in my 25 years and am still dealing with and coming to terms with in my own past. Comparatively slight, but the constant struggle that occurred growing up, particularly for strong women, with whom I looked emotional and physical obstructions. Especially to hinder our autonomy and wielding of any power forever haunts my actions, my confidence and my being.. But your win gives me hope and trust. So thank you for that.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart, as a keyboard fanatic, for the hope you have instilled in me for better future in this jewelled part of the North that I forever keep vividly green close to my heart. I hope that in winning as a female Labour candidate you will work (equally) hard as you have done supporting the disenfranchised, lost, destitute people through commissioning for the NHS and the amazing charity Sharing Voices.

I hope also that you do well in the coming months. I believe you will achieve your aims. I pray that God Willing the shameful “legal” charge by Galloway does not hinder you. My faith and optimism in a Bradford improved under your guidance is vast and I hope is not wasted in empty promises of change.

Yours Sincerely,

A fellow Bradfordian Woman.

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