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Students campaign for ethnic minority status for Latin Americans

PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 July 2016 | UPDATED: 09:16 20 July 2016

School 21 Stratford Old Town Hall

School 21 Stratford Old Town Hall

Archant

With the turnout among newly-eligible voters lower than that of their parents and grandparents in the Brexit referendum, there is a perception that young people are more interested in social media than social issues.

However, one group of Year 8 students from School 21, in Pitchford Street, Stratford, have been showing Londoners that their opinions matter and their voices deserve to be heard.

The children travelled across London on Thursday to fight for the rights of Latin Americans in the capital, finishing with a demonstration outside the Old Town Hall, in Broadway, Stratford.

“We are campaigning for the rights of the Latin American community because they don’t have ethnic minority status,” said 13-year-old Milcalca Panda.

“We’ve been researching in school as a team and decided to build a campaign for the rights of the Latin American community.”

Aman Ahmed, also 13, added: “It made us look at how unfair the world can be,.”

The campaign calls for Newham to recognise Latin Americans as an ethnic minority, which would give them access to a range of services provided by the borough.

“It’s been hugely successful in terms of what our aims were,” said Daniel Shindler, lead teacher for drama, oracy and wellbeing at School 21.

“After Brexit there was this whole thing about young people not caring but we’ve tried to get them engaged.”

The event was organised in unison with Redlines, a youth activist group.

“It was amazing to see 12 and 13-year-olds have such a concern for justice. I feel privileged to a part of this,” said the group’s Anna Wyld.

The year 8 students clearly made an impact on the day as the council issued a response to the concerns they raised.

A Newham Council spokesperson said: “We want to ensure that the different ethnicities that make up our diverse community are recognised, listened to and have access to information and services.

“The council’s current monitoring forms are based on information provided by the government, we will be putting pressure on the government to ensure that it recognises the changing face of ethnicities in the UK.

“In addition, we will be looking at what we can do to ensure the Latin American community in Newham is supported and recognised.”

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