New Haringey mayor vows to tackle racism upon start of Black History Month

Cllr Adam Jogee said Haringey "must never forget" the responsibility to tackle racism

Cllr Adam Jogee said Haringey "must never forget" the responsibility to tackle racism. Picture: Cllr Adam Jogee - Credit: Archant

Haringey’s new mayor urged greater action to tackle racial and religious inequality as he was sworn in on Thursday at the opening of Black History Month.

Demonstrators at a Black Lives Matter protest in Highgate. Picture: Isla Kammerling

Demonstrators at a Black Lives Matter protest in Highgate. Picture: Isla Kammerling - Credit: Archant

At a meeting of the full council on October 1, Cllr Adam Jogee (Labour, Hornsey) took over as the First Citizen of Haringey from Cllr Sheila Peacock (Labour, Northumberland Park), who served the borough for a record four terms.

Cllr Jogee, born and bred in Haringey, paid tribute to his Jamaican and Zimbabwean heritage and he called for more “kindness” and “courtesy” in local politics.

The council AGM was held on Thursday having been subject of delay and political infighting following a series of recent suspensions of Haringey Labour councillors.

Cllr Jogee told the meeting: “It is fitting that on the first day of Black History Month Haringey has elected a Black man as its First Citizen.

“As important as that is, we all have more to do to advance the cause of racial and religious equality and we must never forget that responsibility.”

Cllr Jogee, who went to Highgate Wood School, paid tribute to his grandfather who left Jamaica for Britain in the early 1940s to aid the country’s war efforts.

“Haringey, where I have lived my whole life, is a diverse, multicultural, inclusive and vibrant community,” the Hornsey councillor said.

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“We must always be proud of who we are as a people and we must be forever focused on what we can be, and what we can do.”

Haringey Council’s leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor (Labour, Bruce Grove) paid tribute to the outgoing mayor Cllr Sheila Peacock who he described as a “champion” of the elderly.

He said coronavirus and Black Lives Matter were the two main points of reflection for 2020, which he called a “very challenging year”.

On Covid-19 Cllr Ejiofor urged residents to not listen to the “naysayers” and he called for “decisive action” to prevent another lockdown.

The council’s opposition leader, Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison (Liberal Democrat, Crouch End), said Haringey stood “arm in arm” with Black Lives Matter and that the pandemic’s local response showed the best of the community.

Cllr Cawley-Harrison criticised Haringey Council for “indulging” its divisions in what he labelled the “political pantomime” of recent suspensions “rather than combating the pandemic”.

List of Haringey Council cabinet positions confirmed at AGM

Joseph Ejiofor - leader of the council

Kaushika Amin - deputy leader of the council & cabinet member for children, education & families

Charles Adje - cabinet member for finance and strategic regeneration

Mark Blake - cabinet member for communities

Gideon Bull - cabinet member for local investment and economic growth

Seema Chandwani - cabinet member for transformation and public realm investment

Kirsten Hearn - cabinet member for climate change, equalities and leisure

Emina Ibrahim - cabinet member for housing and estate renewal

Sarah James - cabinet member for adults and health

Matthew White - cabinet member for planning and corporate services