Monthly Political Evenings of Lohja in English starting this February
Last year of 2021 I was a political candidate for the city council of Lohja. I got enough votes and enough respect from my peers of Meidän Lohja to be considered to be a candidate for the urban planning board. This proposal got a general rebuttal from the other political parties of Lohja as it seems not to be legal to have on the board a member non fluent in any of the two official languages of Finland, Finnish and Swedish.
On the 15th August 2021, Meidän Lohja met in the City Hall and I exposed my view on this: “the expertises of one person is the most relevant. If that one person is a great expert in a subject but happens to be handicapped, we build a ramp, if that person is blind, we print out in braille, if that person’s gender is undefined we build inclusive toilets, but when it comes to language, it seems Finland stopped being progressive! If I am not accepted into the board of urban planning due to my language handicap, by holding two master degrees in civil engineering and architecture and with over 50 buildings built, this can be considered nothing else as discrimination.”
Meidän Lohja exposed these views further and I got accepted into the board of Urban Planning. It might be the first time ever that in Finland a non Finnish or Swedish speaker gets in, but even if not so, this is an important step for inclusion. For a foreigner like me, It is indeed a challenge to understand all the details of what is happening in the board, especially because most of the discussions are in Finnish and at a personal level and not so much on the technical side.
Like me, there is a growing minority in Lohja and in other localities in Finland, that need to get access to better political information. What is going on in our own municipality? What is happening in Lohja’s politics? Who is deciding what? What are the hottest topics ongoing? Is it difficult for you to navigate as a foreigner or even just to understand the complicated finnish texts?
We therefore decided to organize “The Political Evenings of Lohja”. Every second Thursday of the month at Opus K bar. After a 15 min speech of a rotating city council member of all parties, resuming in english the latest major happenings of the month in the council or in the news, we then do 1 hour discussion among the people on these topics. From 19:00 to 20:00. Join us!
Pedro Aibéo, Architect