Local voices – The Haringey Community Assembly
December 14, 2023 by Extinction Rebellion
The exciting beginnings of community building, sharing experience, finding our voices and realising our power are happening.
Community assemblies have already taken place in Didsbury, Lincoln and Yorkshire to name but a few. Others are in the offing all over the country. On Saturday 25 November, London hosted its first, curated by XR Haringey and Haringey Community Action Network.
People were greeted with a warm welcome at the Kurdish Assembly Community Centre in North London, an appropriate venue, as Rojava is governed by district and civil councils run along similar lines to community assemblies.
People arrived, settled in and chatted at tables, invitingly set up with olives, dips and nibbles, pens, papers and post-its before hearing a range of presentations from The Climate Resilience Company, climate specialist, a Greener Practice NHS GP, the Carbon Officer for Haringey Council and a speaker from Haringey | Living Streets. As concerned as we all are about the state of the Health Service, it was important to hear that environmental factors and our individual health choices are more important in shaping our health than the quality of our health care services. It was refreshing to hear the speaker from Haringey Council openly admit the council is currently behind in its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and that ambitious action is needed. Haringey awaits!
Engaging, they provided food for thought for the small group deliberations.The room buzzed as people talked with each other, sharing their thoughts and experience, filling post-its and coming up with their top three suggestions. The focus of the deliberation was ‘The climate crisis, pollution and the collapse of nature will affect us all. How might we respond better to this in order to build a thriving and sustainable future in Haringey?’ The assembly called for equity to be a core principle of all of Haringey’s steps towards a just transition to include equitable transport policies that restore and protect clean air, more participatory democracy, sustainable housing and nurturing community ties.
It didn’t end there, a short break and the room broke into groups again thinking about Next Steps to take some of the ideas forward including working on a Community Festival.
The conclusions of the assembly are to be sent to local politicians and the press.
The Haringey community assembly, as well as addressing urgent local issues, is part of XR’s Community Assemblies Escalation Plan designed to use deliberative democracy as a way to connect the local to Westminster.
The day ended with children sharing the art that they had been quietly working on in a corner of the room, a final ideas gathering session to ensure the most powerful suggestions are taken forward, and a sharing of an array of delicious food provided and prepared by Haringey Right to Food.
A really thoughtfully organised, joyful event where connections were made, understanding extended and ideas formulated, together. Looking forward to the next!
Watch out for a video of the event.
Want to hold one? Here’s all you need to know: Community Assemblies in the Rebel Toolkit.
Photography: Many thanks to Tom Russell for the photos.