I support One Day Without Us, because I think it’s more important than ever to recognise and celebrate the contribution made to this country by immigrants from the EU and beyond. To me it seems that in the last six months Britain has changed for the worse; politicians and newspapers have branded immigrants as their latest scapegoat for the ills of my country and too many people have believed them. I urge anyone who cares about the kind of Britain we live in to support this Day of Action.
I’m not an immigrant or the son of an immigrant, but my wife’s grandfather found refuge in this country after his home was overrun by the Nazis. I value the contribution made by the people who came here as entrepreneurs, craftspeople, healers, carers and hard workers. I also recognise that each wave of immigration has enriched our culture, not lessened it. But still the haters hate, and right now their voices are loud and embolden those people who would do more than just blame immigrants.
A few months ago, Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen was killed in the street, apparently by a man whose mental illness had been inflamed by the hateful rhetoric that this Day of Action stands against. Shops run by immigrants have been burned, people spat at in the streets. I know enough history to recognise this kind of hate has been stirred up before and we are still living with the aftermath of the horror it created.
I’m writing this now because if you think the same – that immigrant is not a dirty word and their contribution to our society is to be celebrated, not deplored then please stand with us on the Day of Action on 20th February 2017. You can help show those who seek to divide us that we value our immigrant neighbours, work colleagues, shop keepers, doctors and plumbers. This is not the time to be silent and I trust you will join us.
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