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Assembly Launches Operation Black Vote AM Shadowing Scheme.

The National Assembly for Wales and Operation Black Vote will launch their Assembly Member Shadowing Scheme at the Senedd on October 10th at 5.30pm.

The scheme, run in conjunction with Operation Black Vote, will see nine BME people from all over Wales shadowing Assembly Members from all four main parties. The project, aimed at encouraging those from BME communities to participate in the democratic process and increasing the number of BME AMs, follows on from successful MP, Magistrate and Councillor shadowing schemes.

The participants, who come from a wide range of BME communities, will shadow AMs for a minimum of eight days over a six month period in order to gain experience of life as an Assembly Member, and to help Assembly Members understand the needs of their BME constituents.  They will also become Community Ambassadors, promoting democratic engagement within their areas.

The Assembly’s Presiding Officer Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas will speak at the launch, along with Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote, Ann Jones, AM, Chair of Equality of Opportunity Committee and Mohammad Asghar AM, the first BME Member of the National Assembly for Wales.

Lord Elis-Thomas said: ‘I am very pleased to be launching the scheme. While the Assembly can boast that, during the second Assembly, it was the first parliamentary institution in the world to have first a 50/ 50 gender balance and then a majority of women, BME communities weren’t represented at all until this year when Mohammad Ashgar became our first BME AM. However his presence alone is not enough and anything that can be done to redress this balance is very welcome.’

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