Voting has opened to rename one of the Guild’s activity spaces and the options couldn’t be more stereotypically Guild

They want it to represent people who are from underrepresented groups, or who have fought adversity, and for human rights and equality

Following a Change It proposal by a student to rename the controversial Aung San Suu Kyi room, the Guild asked for your ideas on what to rename the room. The room is the Guild’s smallest meeting space, on the top floor, recommended for intimate meetings.

Now shortlist has been announced and voting has opened on who to rename the room after. The Guild has whittled down the entries to five nominees: these are April Ashley, George Brancker (Theo), Abdul Sattar Edhi, Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim and .Kitty Wilkinson. The Guild is famous for its pro-activism stance, with their other activity rooms named after the likes of Nelson Mandela, Elizabeth Gidney, Harold Wilson, James E. Brown and Ken Saro Wiwa.

On asking or nominees for the room name change, the Guild wrote on their website, :

“We are looking for someone who has had led real change, and made a meaningful impact on the world around them whether it be at the University, within the city, or further afield.  We’re particularly keen to receive suggestions for people who are from underrepresented groups, or who have fought adversity, and for human rights and equality.  Ideally, the nominees will have a reputation for bringing people together and reflect the values of the Guild.”

 

The five nominees for the new room name are; April Ashley, George Brancker (Theo) , Abdul Sattar Edhi, Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, and Kitty Wilkinson. The Guild also has statements about each nominee on their website:

April Ashley

Born in Liverpool in 1935, April Ashley MBE, is a former Vogue model, actress and restaurateur. Shebecame one of the world’s most famous transgender individuals and was one of the first people in the world to undergo pioneering gender reassignment surgery. April Ashley was instrumental in lobbying the government to pass the Gender Recognition Act in 2004 and, in 2012, she was appointed an MBE for services to transgender equality.

George Brancker (Theo)

Born in 1937 in Barbados, George Brancker, known as Theo, came to the University of Liverpool to study Law. During his time as an undergraduate Brancker was elected Guild President, the first black person to achieve such an honour at a British University. Graduating in Law, Brancker rose to become a highly respected Clerk of Parliament in Barbados.

Abdul Sattar Edhi

Known in Pakistan as the ‘Angel of Mercy’ and ‘Pakistan’s Father Teresa’ Abdul Sattar Edhi was an award-winning philanthropist and humanitarian. Edhi founded the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network, the Edhi Foundation which has now expanded to running outpatient hospitals, a child adoption centre and rescue boats.

Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim

Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim is an Arabic Sudanese writer, women’s activist and Socialist leader. For over 60 years she has placed herself and the forefront of women’s rights and social change in Sudan becoming the first female parliamentarian. Fatima has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of women, social justices and freedom of speech.

Kitty Wilkinson

An Irish migrant Kitty Wilkinson became known as the ‘Saint of the Slums’. During the cholera epidemic she owned the only boiler in the neighbourhood and opened her home so those with infected clothes or lines could use it, a simple act of kindness which saved many lives. Wilkinson’s initial efforts became the first public washhouse in Liverpool. Ten years later her work resulted in the opening of a combined washhouse and public baths, the first in the United Kingdom.

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Raisah Chowdhury, the student who initially called for the Guild to rename the Guild room, wrote her reasons why in her change it proposal:

“Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to uphold the Human Rights of Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state. She has not spoken out against ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Rohingya Muslims despite being in a place to do so. She even opposes calling them “Rohingya” implying she has the stance, just like a lot of Burmese nationals, that they are illegal immigrants and do not deserve Burmese citizenship or even basic human rights. She even asked the US government to not call them “Rohingya”.

“Over 120,000 Rohingya have been confined to camps and coordinated attacks by government forces have left hundred dead, tortured and raped and more than 30,000 people are homeless.

“This woman who has been criticised by other Nobel Laureates and Global Leaders for her silence of the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Rohingya. She has no place to be remembered in a place, like the Guild, that aids the students and youth of today and that also speaks out so heavily against injustices in the world, like the Guild. For her name to be sat within the institute that has a vast and diverse history as the Guild does, is a stain upon it’s name and for her name/room to be sat next to the great Nelson Mandala is absolutely disgusting and an insult.

I propose to have the room renamed. I believe her name has no place within the Liverpool Guild of Students. Her name has no place within the great city of Liverpool.”

Voting opened on Tuesday and finishes on Saturday at 2pm. Students can vote via the Guild website by clicking on the ‘vote now’ banner.

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