My name is Deng Yan San and on the 29 January 2015, I was elected the Young Mayor and Member of Youth Parliament for Tower Hamlets!
My role is to represent young people across the borough on both a local and a national level in a number of ways, including attending meetings with key decision makers in the councils as well as consulting with young people about issues that matter the most to them.
My role in the Youth Parliament as an MYP involves attending conventions, the Annual Sitting and debating in the House of Commons once a year to decide what should be the next National Campaign. MYPs are also essential in carrying out the largest national youth consultation called “Make Your Mark” where young people vote on what the most important issue is to them. The top five issues are then debated in the House of Commons, and this year the 5 issues are:
- Tackling Racism and Religious Discrimination
- Mental Health
- Living Wage
- A Curriculum For Life
- Public Transport
As of Friday 13th November 2015, the new national campaign for UKYP will be Tackling Racism and Religious Discrimination.
I ran for this position because I believed in making a genuine change and I was unhappy with the current MYP we had. I felt as though we needed a change, so I decided to be that change!
I am passionate about the work I do as an MYP because it supports the UKYP mission to give young people a voice and to involve them in the decision making process. I believe that “making a difference” comes in many shapes and sizes, and I learn more and more about the world and myself everyday. Being able to answer questions and tell people about the work I do makes all the hard work worth it when they feel as though they are truly being represented. I can never cease to be amazed by the breadth of UKYP and how all work is valued, be it at grassroots level or at a national level.
Youth voice and a voice in general is so important, at any election in your area, a candidate will be elected regardless of whether you voted or not. If you are a registered, you’ll have the chance to have a say about who represents you by voting! My election had the largest turnout yet, with 71.95% of the franchise voting and during this term, youth engagement in Tower Hamlets has been on the rise, especially with the recent increase in Make Your Mark results. In 2014, only 6% had a say in the UKYP’s potential National Campaign, however in 2015, over 5,500 young people participated in Make Your Mark, a 24.83% increase in just a year. Now, 4000 more young people in Tower Hamlets have a direct voice in influencing important policy that can and will affect them.
I was part of a competition to draw the Houses of Parliament in 3 minutes with the Electoral Commission and I had heaps of fun in doing so, and it really highlighted how quickly 3 minutes pass by! So, why should you register to vote? It is ridiculously simple and fast – fast being the key word from personal experience! – and there is no excuse for not getting involved! It is the most efficient way in making a difference and shaping the world to be a way that you want it to be.
Go on www.gov.uk//register-to-vote to register to vote because your vote matters!
Deng Yan San
Young Mayor and Member of Youth Parliament for Tower Hamlets