“When using Simpson’s Diversity Index on 10 aggregated ethnic groups, the 2001 UK Census identified Newham as the most ethnically diverse district in England and Wales, with 9 wards in the top 15”
Given the diversity of London itself I suggest that Newham has a more than fair claim to be called the most diverse place on the planet. As the destination of multiple diaspora communities over many decades Newham can be envisioned as a ‘confluence community’ – The term does not seem to exist elsewhere (I googled it as I often do when occur to me) but is I think a good one as it suggests a ‘gathering in’; and what I intend to suggest is that we in Newham can see ourselves as a kind of ‘gathering in’ of humanity. Such a ‘gathering in’ has enormous potential but its potency as any sort of force for good and meaningful change can only be realised if what has been accidential becomes intentional.
We must not only celebrate the many islands of diversity in Newham, we must also be conscious of ourselves as a confluence community, as a Gathering. In order to do this we must be deliberately conversational, we must learn to share who we are with respect to both our heritages as people who come from many places and our uniqueness as individuals who are being formed by the present for future destinies and destinations.
The task of community building is an important one and in part a political one but it is not one that needs to be or should be left to politicians. I have quoted and have adapted (to many situations) something said by an Indian activist called Rajendra Singh:
“Rivers cannot be saved by people who have hunger for power and posts. They can only be saved by connecting people with the mission.” ~ Rajendra Singh
He may as well say (and this is what I believe):
“Our community cannot be saved by people who have hunger for power and posts. It can only be saved by connecting people with each other and the mission.”
Our diversity at present is simply raw material; to make it of high value we need to recognise the potential, to mine and refine it. It is an opportunity and a responsibility. We must recognise this and then connect people with each other and with a sense of mission.
We must keep talking, connecting and becoming as a community regardless of what formal structures and formal politicians choose to do or are able to do.