Belfast, Lisburn & Castleragh Chapter participant thanks The Next Chapter for being transformative in her journey
Patricia Leathley thanks The Next Chapter for giving her the tools to build upon her knowledge and confidence to encourage others to find their political voice and make change.
"I cast my first ever vote for the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, weeks after my eighteenth birthday, but I was never much engaged with politics beyond a commitment to voting. However, negative attitudes in the political and social climate over the last few years have made me see that we need to speak up. Good people need to engage politically and in society to counter divisions. The Next Chapter seemed like the opportunity I’d been waiting for to see how I could get involved and make a difference in my community.
The Next Chapter has been transformative in building my knowledge, confidence and skills so that I can use my voice and be heard. It’s helped me see that one person can be enough to start a ripple of change and collective action can lead to a tsunami.
Now, I’m having conversations with people about what I’m doing, about rights, equality, and political engagement and encouraging them to speak up for change. I’m encouraging women in my life to have courage and take a chance on themselves.
I’m trying to get more involved in public and political life and work for change. The amazing group of friends that I’ve made and the networks that I’m now part of have been instrumental in helping me to have the confidence that it’s possible.
I love the energy and diversity of our group, which has helped me understand some of the experiences and barriers for other women at the intersection of gender with parenting, class, work, colour, disability and beyond. I have been so inspired by these women and I want to help others to help create a full and fair society for everyone."
Thanks to Patricia for taking the time to write this article.
Be the Change You Want to See Community Project