Shirley Islam

I’m someone who grew up in a small town, I had a very poor and disadvantaged background. I wasn’t ever a confident person as I suffered a lot of racial abuse when I was young. I decided I wasn’t going to feel sorry for myself or be a victim and studied hard at school as I wanted to achieve academically. I work for criminal justice. I am a single parent of two children. I am a happy go lucky person who recognises the positive in life. I often use a common sense approach to problem solving.

I agreed to join as I was interested in making Scotland better for disadvantaged groups as I can understand how life can be hard . I’m interested in making things better. At first I wasn’t sure if the process was genuine or would be a serious exercise. I also wasn’t sure I would have the confidence to participate. I wasn’t certain if we would be encouraged to be honest and speak our mind.

The most memorable part was how informative and knowledgeable the whole group were. How diverse and honest the whole group were. How normal everyone was and friendly. My own personal highlight was having the confidence and words to challenge the MSPs then having an article in the Scotsman about what I said. I feel very privileged to have been part of the vision statement.

I have learned so much – how complicated politics/tax is . I have learned that my voice is as important as someone from government. I have learned you don’t have to have a private education to make Scotland better. I have learned to listen to other people’s opinions and change mine. I have learned that the people of Scotland can make Scotland better by working together. I have learned a lot about climate change and the Green Party.

For me it is a must that Citizens’ Assembly continue, this is the way forward for politics. I would like the vision statement implemented. I would like government to recognise the importance of using normal everyday people in decision making. I would also like to see the House of Lords disbanded and the money used as another tier to politics, using the citizens assembly.

Woman smiling