Handbridge Park Councillor Razia Daniels, who is currently serving as the Lord Mayor of Chester, addressed the recent Chester Pride parade. Here is a copy of her speech:
"Distinguished Guests, Councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen: welcome to Chester Pride.
I am Councillor Razia Daniels I represent Handbridge, Curzon Park, and Westminster Park.
I have been a Councillor for 11 years and on 19th May this year I became Lord Mayor of Chester.
As Lord Mayor of Chester I am delighted to welcome you all and open the proceedings.
It is huge honour for me to open Chester Pride.
I was born in Tanzania and when I was growing up in Tanzania I didn't imagine even in my wildest dreams that one day I will become Lord Mayor of Chester any have the honour of opening Chester Pride.
In 2009 - the County of Cheshire was split into two unitary authorities East and West - when CWAC was formed.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Mike Jones and the Chief Executive, Steve Robinson signed a pledge to make sure that Equality and Diversity was at the heart of everything we as a new authority do.
And few years later I was appointed the Equality and Diversity Champion.
Whilst I was Member Champion for Equality and Diversity CW&C achieved the highest award - The Excellent Level of The Equality Framework for Local Government.
It was the first authority in the North West to receive an Excellent Level Award and one of only a handful of Councils in the Country have achieved the excellent level award.
I felt very proud of being part of the team to achieve this recognition. This achievement is not acquired on your own.
It was a team effort, and Partnership working, with many many organisations including the Police, Fire Authority and the University.
At my first meeting as Champion of Equality & Diversity with E&D officers - Angela Doe and Rob Jones - we looked at the calendar of events for the year.
I said to them: Manchester has got Pride, Liverpool has got Pride, and Chester does not. I questioned... why not Chester?
I remember asking Angela and Rob to arrange a meeting.
We invited Cllr Jill Houlbrook who had always been supportive of E&D agenda.
We invited the University, Police, Fire Authority and other stakeholders.
The meeting took place here in the old Council building which is now The University.
It just started with a conversation in a room and there was so much good will and willingness by everyone involved to make this event happen.
It just took off...
And under the Leadership of Helen Pickin-Jones and David Redpath-Smith and the members of Chester Pride Committee... it just blossomed.
And look at what we have now.
What a great achievement for our City.
But funding was always an issue and it still is now.
And I remember sending out emails to my fellow Councillors to ask them to contribute funds from their members budget.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank all my fellow Councillors for supporting the event.
I would like to thank to all sponsors who have supported the Pride.
But none of this would be possible without the army of volunteers who have worked so hard to make this event such a great success.
Many Many Thanks to all the volunteers.
As Lord Mayor you get to choose a theme for the civic year and my theme for my civic year is Community Spirit.
And what a fantastic community spirit we have here.
Thank you - I hope you have fabulous time!