This is an Oxford Mail editorial from the Lord Mayor of Oxford Lubna Arshad.

I grew up in Headington and apart from a brief stint as a student in Manchester, I have lived in Oxford all my life and have a lot of love and gratitude for the city.

But it wasn’t until I became the city’s first Lord Mayor, the first woman of colour and first Muslim woman of intersectional background to hold the position, that I feel more accepted for who I am.

At the Mayor Making ceremony, alongside my robes and chain of office, I wore a hijab and a traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez to reflect both sides of my identity.

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After being elected as a councillor in 2018, I now find myself in a unique position of being a role model, especially for women - a quite extraordinary experience.

My parents came to this country from Pakistan one cold Christmas Day in the 1960s and I am extremely proud of them.

They impressed upon me and my three siblings the importance of compassion and helping others.

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My dad worked for Royal Mail for over 40 years and he and my mum brought us up to care for others and value a good education.

As an Ahmadiyya Muslim, we are taught to follow the Islamic message of 'Love for all, Hatred for None'.

The people who have chosen to make Oxford their new home do so from a variety of different heritage and financial backgrounds.

When people lack resources, there’s empowerment in banding together with others in the same situation, creating support networks that become communities that contribute to the life of the city.

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These community ties are precious and we also need to protect our community services.

I remember going to summer schemes as a child and I know what a difference they can make.

It was witnessing the daily injustice faced by the Asian community and seeing the barriers people faced such as trying to find somewhere to live, getting access to healthcare and finding opportunities for young people that first inspired me to enter local politics.

I strongly believe in the value of sisterhood. Women are the builders of nations and as women, it is our responsibility to honour ourselves and live up to our full potential.

I feel extremely grateful to the people of Oxford for the opportunity I now have to break down barriers for others.

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My chosen charities this Mayoral year are Humanity First, Oxford Community Action and Asylum Welcome.

Hold on to your values, hold on to your communities and together we can make equality a reality for everybody.

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