Zoe Garbett standing in front of flats in London

Bright Green is offering all the candidates standing to be on the Green Party’s list for the 2024 London Assembly election the opportunity to set out why they are standing and their vision for London. This article is published as part of that series. The full series of articles can be found here.

The need for more Greens in City Hall has never been more urgent. Working in the public sector, most recently in the NHS, I have seen the impact that austerity has had on public services – staff exhausted, services stretched to their limits and people going without the care they desperately need. The Green Party has consistently opposed austerity. I joined the Green Party because of our understanding of interconnected issues and our commitment to preventing damage to people and the planet – more Greens in City Hall means more compassionate Green policies for Londoners.

In 2022, I was elected to Hackney Council with one of the strongest Green votes in London and I came second in the contest for Mayor of Hackney, with an increase of 6.5 points. The role of Assembly Members is to hold the Mayor to account and push for green policies, and this is what I do as an activist, a Councillor and as the leader of our Green Group in Hackney.

I care passionately about identifying and addressing the root causes of health inequalities. It’s with this focus that I developed the Green Party’s drug policy in 2019. I then helped Sian Berry to set the agenda for harm reduction in the 2021 London elections and worked with Caroline Russell as chair of the London Assembly Health Committee to make recommendations to reduce drug deaths in the city. I have also spoken out to critique Sadiq Khan for not doing more to reduce the criminalisation of young people.

I got into politics because I cannot sit by and watch causes and people being ignored – and I believe in taking action when you witness injustice. I have a track record of working and winning with campaigners to protect community buildings, fighting for more social housing and amplifying voices ignored by others like young people and the demands of climate action groups. I’m most proud of my role in the Save Ridley Road campaign, work I’ve been able to continue as a Councillor to make sure the council is listening to market traders, creating conditions for them to thrive and protecting the market from gentrification.

I campaign for racial justice. This has involved challenging the police’s crime ‘hot spots’ in my ward, speaking up about police violence against delivery riders and scrutinsing the actions of the police and council which led to the horrendous strip-search of Hackney’s Child Q. I am honoured to have earned the confidence of people who trust me as their representative and use my position to bring their voices into the council chamber.

I use my personal experiences in my activism. Identifying as queer, I’ve worked to protect safe spaces for LGBTIQA+ communities and to ensure that LGBTIQA+ people see themselves reflected in local NHS campaigns. As a private renter in London, I know how tough renting in this city has become. The Greens have a history of siding with renters and I’m standing to be a strong voice for renters and to hold landlords to account.

As a Green Councillor, with our Assembly Members and in my NHS role, I work hard to address inequality and I am not afraid to speak up when I see injustice. I’m standing for the Assembly as I want to be where I can make the most difference.

Caroline Lucas, Caroline Russell, Sian Berry, Zack Polanksi and Tyrone Scott are backing me and I’d be delighted if you would back me too by giving me your first preference vote.

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