Every week at his office in Amsterdam this young lawyer is attending to hundreds of people in need of assistance to clear them from unnecessary debts and bills incurred from tax office, in some cases they have been wrongfully taxed. Recently I met him on his campaign train and chatted with him on his mission to become a parliamentarian. Meet Don Ceder, a candidate on the ticket of the Christian Union, No 7 on the list. Read his interview and why we have to vote him into the parliament.
TV: Give a short introduction of yourself?
Don Ceder: I was born 27 years ago in the city of Amsterdam. I’m an offspring of a Ghanaian mother and a Surinamese father. I am currently practicing as a lawyer and I own a law firm based in Amsterdam.
TV: Congratulations, and what does your work entails as a lawyer?
Don Ceder: As a lawyer I chose to advocate for citizens whose rights are being violated by unlawful additional costs by collection agencies (in the Netherlands they are known as ‘Incasso bureaus’), tax authorities, big companies, CJIB and banks. Many people lack the language from minority communities and even those who have the language are scare to death whenever they get bills they do not clearly understand, out of panic many goes to pay it and some even get more bills after paying so some people are in serious debts. Through my legal representation I have helped many to correct the mistakes and even get them payback the over charges they have received in the past.
TV: This is a great work you are doing and it must be challenging as well?
Don Ceder: Yes, I enjoy helping people and especially when they are taken advantage of because of underline challenges like language or not understanding how the tax regulations work in The Netherlands. For my effort, I was nominated and recognized as Amsterdam citizen of the year in 2014. That humbled me the more.
Don Ceder chatting with this young person
TV: We have seen some posters of you vying for a political office. How come you are going into politics?
Don Ceder: Well, I got involved into politics because I feel that the issues of large group of people are not being heard and addressed by the current political assembly. There are a lot of serious issues plaguing the communities like increasing debts, unfair school system, discrimination on the job market and unaffordable health care. Growing up in the Amsterdam Bijlmer and as a lawyer I see these problems daily and I am confronted by it to do something. And if you want to make your voice heard or give a voice to the voiceless, you have to join the political arena.
TV: As a Christian, does your faith not affect you in politics?
Don Ceder: As a Christian, I really believe that our lives are light in the darkness. Jesus mention this in Matthew 5:14. All of us are capable of making a change, and a difference can start with just one person. A small lamp can light up an entire dark room, because the room will have to adapt to the light. I want to be a light in the field where I feel I can be most effective right now - the political arena.
TV: We are also aware you intend to contest in the coming elections?
Don Ceder: Yes, I’m running for the upcoming elections for the Parliament. On the 15th of March, every Dutch citizen will have to make a choice on which direction they want this country to go. A lot of important decisions will be made this year. I’m on the ballot because I want to be at the place where these decisions are being made. I don’t just want to be a voice for the people, I want to be the voice from the people, to contribute to giving the best to our communities. I cannot get there by myself, I need all the support, from the Dutch communities, the African immigrants who are resident and eligible to vote, the Asians, South Africans, you name it, all people who are residents in the Netherlands and can vote should vote for me and my party.
Don Ceder needs your vote at this elections
TV: Which is your party?
Don Ceder: It is called ChristenUnie in Dutch; Christian Union Party in English, we represent core Christian values in government, we appeal to Christians and everyone else who believes in fairness, justice and progress to vote our party in this coming elections, we are one of the 38 political parties registered for the elections but we have been around for a long time now and participate in government, the more representation we have the stronger our voice will be in parliament and we can effect the right changes in government.
TV: What do you want from the African and minority populace who can vote in the Netherlands?
Don Ceder: I will be very honest to you. I cannot do this by myself. To be able to represent you, I will need your trust and vote. And not only that; I will need your help to campaign with me these coming weeks to spread this message. Let the people know that someone from among us wants to represent us in the parliament. We need nothing less than 16,000 votes to make it to the parliament, it sounds a lot but it is possible with all our efforts.
Don Ceder is No 7 on the Christian Union Party list
TV: What will your election mean to people in the Netherlands?
Don Ceder: I’m not just talking about what I would like to change, I’ve already been trying to change unfair systems as a lawyer and want to continue bringing a change in the parliament. I know I can contribute if given the chance, so I once again appeal to you all, partner with me and vote Don Ceder, NO 7 ChristenUnie list in the elections on 15th March 2017.
TV: Thank you for your time
Don Ceder: Thank you too and looking forward to great time with all of your readers.