Welcome Address for the Lord Mayor Yasmin Dar

“Empowerment: Realizing Our Potential and Promoting Shared Values”.

Esteemed members of our community, today is a momentous occasion as we gather to warmly welcome and celebrate the appointment of our new Lord Mayor, Yasmin Dar, the first Asian woman to be Lord Mayor.

I was told that the Lord Mayor’s theme for her year of office is: ‘Empowerment’; Pushing for self-belief and self-empowerment, as well as standing up for peace, justice and human rights and equality for all. To me, “Self-Realisation”.

In this address, I want us to collectively embark on a journey of unity, recognizing the power of diversity, and embracing the potential for positive change that our new Lord Mayor brings to our communities

Drawing inspiration from holy scriptures; Let us embark on this journey of self-realization and collective action as we explore the profound impact we can make by uniting, and celebrating our diversity. Together, we can ignite positive change, promote shared values, and fulfil our potential as catalysts for a better world.

Seeking Guidance from Holy Scriptures

In my quest to understand the meaning of “Empowerment”, I turned to the wisdom contained within our respective holy scriptures. The Bible, Quran, and Torah hold timeless teachings that guide our actions.

From Isaiah chapter 55 verses 6-16, we learn to seek God’s guidance, acknowledging that God’s thoughts and ways surpass our own. This highlights the distinction between our human perspective and God’s divine perspective. It reminds us that God’s thoughts and ways are higher and more profound than our own limited understanding.

It emphasizes the importance of actively seeking a relationship God and acknowledging that God’s guidance and wisdom surpasses our own. By seeking the guidance of God, we open ourselves up to the God’s transformative power and gain insight into God’s purpose and plan for our lives.

This passage teaches us to approach life with humility and openness, recognizing that our understanding is limited and that we can benefit greatly from seeking the wisdom of God. It encourages us to trust in God’s superior knowledge and to align our thoughts and ways with God.

By seeking guidance from God, we acknowledge our dependence and invite the God’s divine perspective into our lives. This allows us to make wiser decisions, gain clarity in times of confusion, and grow in our faith and understanding.

Al-Quran Surah 55 emphasizes the numerous blessings and favours bestowed upon humanity by the Most Merciful, highlighting the equal worth and dignity that every human being possesses. While the Surah covers a wide range of themes, including gratitude, creation, and the consequences of one’s actions, it ultimately reinforces the concept of the inherent worth of all individuals. This serves as a reminder that no one is inherently superior or inferior based on worldly attributes, and that all individuals share in the blessings and responsibilities of life. This Surah further emphasizes the equal worth and value of all individuals, reminding us to recognize the inherent dignity in every human being. This concept aligns with the principle of equality upheld in many religious traditions,

emphasizing that regardless of our differences, we are all equal in the eyes of our Creator and deserving of respect, compassion, and justice.

Proverbs 31:8-9 it states, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” These verses emphasize the moral imperative to use our voices and take action on behalf of those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

The passage specifically mentions the destitute, the poor, and the needy, emphasizing our duty to champion justice and advocate for their rights. It calls us to be advocates for those who lack social power or influence, ensuring that their voices are heard and their needs are met.

By speaking up and judging fairly, we actively work towards creating a more just and equitable society. This passage urges us to take a stand against oppression, inequality, and exploitation. It reminds us that we have a role to play in bringing about positive change and uplifting those who are marginalized or disadvantaged.

The message of Proverbs 31:8-9 aligns with the broader theme of justice and compassion found throughout the Bible. It echoes the call to love our neighbours as ourselves and to demonstrate care and concern for the most vulnerable members of society.

As we welcome our new Lord Mayor, we acknowledge her exceptional leadership and the significance of her appointment. In our increasingly diverse society, it is crucial that we recognize and embrace the valuable contributions of individuals from different backgrounds. Her appointment represents progress, as it showcases the inclusivity and equal opportunities our community strives to uphold. Together, let us celebrate this milestone and pledge our support as she undertakes her new role with dedication and vision.

Small Actions, Great Impact

I realised a long time ago that our potential for change lies not only in grand gestures but also in the power of small actions. As community activists, we must remember the parables shared by Jesus in Matthew chapter 13. The mustard seed, though tiny, grows into a great tree, symbolizing the transformative impact of small yet persistent efforts. The yeast that leavens the dough teaches us that even a small influence can permeate and transform the entire community. Additionally, the parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl signifies the value of investing our resources and time, and dedicating ourselves fully to the pursuit of positive change. By embracing the concept of small actions with great impact, we can unlock our potential to create lasting transformation in our communities.

Our new Lord Mayor brings a unique perspective to her position, representing the rich tapestry of our diverse communities. This occasion reminds us of the strength we derive from our collective experiences, cultures, and traditions. By embracing diversity, no matter how small, we unlock a wellspring of creativity, innovation, and understanding. So, let us honour and learn from the Asian heritage she brings, appreciating the wisdom, customs, and values it encompasses. Through this harmonious integration, we foster an inclusive community where everyone’s voice is heard and respected.

Celebrating Diversity, Embracing Shared Values

As a community activist, I recognise the strength and richness that stem from our diverse backgrounds. By respecting and celebrating our differences and embracing shared values, we foster a sense of unity and collaboration. Regardless of our faith traditions, we are all children of The Most High. Let us gain empowerment by drawing inspiration from our respective holy scriptures, finding common ground in promoting justice, equality, and compassion. Through interfaith dialogue, we can discover the universal truths that unite us and amplify our collective efforts. By working together, we can overcome barriers and forge a path towards a better future.

Let us remember that our new Lord Mayor symbolizes the potential for empowerment and transformation that lies within us all. Together, we can collaborate to address the challenges our communities face, such as social inequality, access to education, and healthcare disparities. By harnessing our collective potential, we have the opportunity to create lasting solutions that benefit every member of our community. Let us unite our efforts, drawing inspiration from our diverse backgrounds, as we work hand in hand towards a brighter future.


In conclusion, let us recognise our potential as community activists and commit ourselves to action. By seeking guidance from our holy scriptures, we infuse our work with divine wisdom. By understanding the power of small actions, we magnify our impact on the community. By respecting and celebrating diversity and embracing shared values, we create a tapestry of unity that propels us forward.

So finally, as we warmly welcome our new Lord Mayor, let us recognize the significance of this moment in our community’s journey. By embracing the power of diversity and celebrating the appointment of an Asian woman to this esteemed position, we affirm our commitment to inclusivity, equality, and progress. Together, we will forge a path towards positive change, guided by shared values and a shared vision for a better community. With our new Lord Mayor at the helm, let us embark on this journey of unity, collaboration, collective potential and empowerment. We always state that our children are the leaders of tomorrow, and we sometimes forget that we are their role models. So may our actions, and those of our new Lord Mayor Yasmin Dar, inspire future generations to embrace diversity, champion inclusivity, and realize their own potential for leadership and Empowerment.

Thank you

Prof Erinma Bell MBE DL JP

June 2023

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