Mayor of Camden ‘viewed with suspicion' at Boat Race

Sabrina Francis in tears over of ChildQ case – but also the powerful response that came next

Thursday, 7th April — By Richard Osley

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Cllr Sabrina Francis

THE first black woman to become the Mayor of Camden told last night (Wednesday) that she was treated differently to her white counterparts at annual Boat Race on Thames on Sunday.

Councillor Sabrina Francis said people had asked her if she was really a mayor and if her chain was real – questions that were not thrown at the other guests at the function.

During a debate on equalities and the horrific ChildQ – Met police officers were brought into a school in east London to strip search the 15-year-old girl – Cllr Francis warned that there was a still a battle for equality.

Cllr Francis’ speech in April 2022

“So on Sunday, I was a guest of the Mayor of Wandsworth at the Boat Race,” she said. “Pretty fancy for me! There were lots of other London mayors there, but I was repeatedly asked if I was really a mayor.

“In a room of you know, 10 to 12 other mayors and other people in sparkly things, I didn’t really have to wonder why I was the one that never questioning if I was really a mayor. And like, what borough are you really from? And is that really a mayoral chain? I think we all know why that probably happened to me and not the other mayors.”


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The rowing race is a contest between Oxford and Cambridge universities down the Thames

She told councillors that it had been interesting, during her time as the borough’s first citizen, to see what life could be like as “people can be very, very nice to a black woman if she has a chain”.

But she added: “I’ve also been in spaces where I have been viewed with suspicion.”

She also warned that black children were treated as if they were older than they were, while she described the ChildQ case as “one of truly the most shocking things I have had to hear about in my life. I’m not really ashamed to say every sing;e time I saw it in the news I cried – and then I cried when I saw the powerful response from her community, and aw people condemning it and being very clear about how quite frankly it wouldn’t have happened if it was a white girl.”

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