Camden selects first African-Caribbean female cabinet member
- Credit: Nathalie Raffray
Cllr Sabrina Francis made history in Camden when she was appointed the borough's first Black female mayor in 2021.
The Bloomsbury councillor has now become the first Black woman to hold a cabinet position in the borough.
She received praise from councillors across the chamber during Wednesday's full council meeting as she passed on her civic regalia to incoming mayor Cllr Nasim Ali, himself the first Bangladeshi and Muslim mayor when he held the position 19 years ago.
Council leader Cllr Georgia Gould said Cllr Francis had "supported, celebrated and stood up for single parent families" and "spoken with great power about racial inequalities" during her term in office.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Cllr Nancy Jirira said how "grateful and appreciative" she was to her for raising funds for the charity Gingerbread, where she and her daughter had been beneficiaries in the past.
She added: "When you were elected as the first female African-Caribbean councillor for the Labour party in 2014, I was really pleased as I often wondered why a party with such a comfortable majority, did not ensure this happened sooner.
"Indeed in Camden, it was the Liberal Democrats. We ensured the election of an African-Caribbean member female in this place when I was elected in 2008.
"Subsequently the Tories [did] with the election of Leila Roy in 2014.
"It's good to see, for the first time, we have increased the diversity of councillors."
Conservative leader Cllr Gio Spinella, highlighted her sense of humour, saying she "managed to project your personality, what an incredible personality that is", to "crack through the shells and armour" of the mayoral office that can be quite "pompous".
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Cllr Francis said that "often as a councillor you can see the worst" being so close to people whose lives have been affected by cost of living conditions "but as mayor you see the best of the borough".
She said it was an honour supporting Gingerbread.
"I was delighted to fundraise for them and raise awareness of their mission and their hope for a society in which single parent families are treated equally and fairly," she said.
"Being from a single parent family isn't a moral failing, it doesn't have to hold you back, its just a circumstance."
She added: "Having been mayor has undoubtedly made me a better councillor, and a better person, and hopefully a half decent cabinet member."