Anthonia Izekor wants to provide a mirror for young people from ethnic backgrounds to see themselves in decision making roles and now she hopes to run in the Local Elections 2024 in the Kinnegad Electoral Area.
The 36-year-old mother of five has been living in Ireland for over twenty years and she believes her wealth of community and voluntary work coupled with a vision for inclusion and diversity would make her an ideal county councillor. Originally from Nigeria/Sierra Leone, Anthonia is currently employed in the Chief State Solicitor’s office in Dublin and she is also the first black person to become an Invigilator and a scribe for examinations at the Technological University of the Midlands, formerly known as Athlone IT.
Anthonia established the Unique Community Youth Group in the Kinnegad area a few years ago in a bid to bring young people from people ethnic backgrounds and religions together as she believes many young people feel excluded in Irish society. “Ireland is a very cosmopolitan society which embraces diversity and exclusion, but I see a gap when it comes to young people from different ethnic backgrounds as even those young people born in Ireland don’t really feel accepted or included. They don’t see many black people or black women like themselves in decision making roles and I want to provide a mirror to them so if they see it’s possible for me they can identify and see themselves. I want them to know they can be anything they want to be in Ireland-that they are capable and accepted,” explained Anthonia.
“The Unique Youth Group embraces cultural diversity- it’s all about creating awareness and I believe the youth are our future- we don’t want them to see difference and I am very passionate about that,” said Antonia. She is keenly aware of the unifying power of sport as her own children are involved in various sports from basketball to soccer and the local GAA. Her eldest son Danians is studying bio-medicine and is a keen rugby player and her second son Divine is a well-known soccer player with Bohemiam’s U17 and a member of the League of Ireland soccer team while her other children are involved with local basketball and GAA teams and her daughter Diana is also a keen soccer player. “Sport is a great unifier for young people- our young people have so much talent and with all the different ethnic communities in this country there is no reason why we can’t imagine Ireland getting to a World Cup,” she continues.
This ambitious young Co Westmeath woman also has a Masters in Psychology and Human Resources and she believes more diversity in our council chambers would be more reflective of a multi-cultural society. “If young people and people from different ethnic backgrounds don’t see themselves in our county councils then it is not reflective of society and their views and opinions are not being heard at the decision-making tables and I am passionate about changing that,” said Anthonia.
Anthonia became involved with See Her Elected with the Introduction to Politics course and is now enrolled up on the follow up Foundation strategy workshops. “I find the See Her Elected workshops so empowering- it’s fantastic to meet so many like-minded women who are so full of passion and who want to see change in their communities, and everyone is so supportive of each other. It has really given me the confidence and knowledge to run for election. When a group of women get together, they are such a phenomenal powerhouse and I’m so delighted there is an organisation like See Her Elected to give us a pathway to getting elected,” said Anthonia.
She is passionate about bringing improvements and changes to her community in Kinnegad and she notes other issues of concern such as a lack of a secondary school in Kinnegad and the fact that there is no library service or train service in the County Westmeath town. “Kinnegad is a fantastic place to live and work- there is a great community and I want to harness that to bring about changes to make it even better,” said Anthonia. She is also involved in numerous voluntary and charity work including being a member of Kinnegad and Killucan Tidy Towns Committee and has also completed charity 5k runs for cancer research. Anthonia also acts as a voluntary tutor for university and secondary school students in her community.