London rally photo by Steve Eason
On Saturday 1 Day Without Us finally held its second national day of action in solidarity with migrants in the UK. More than 60 events were organised across the country by 1DWU groups or by organisations and local groups acting under our umbrella. In London a rally in Parliament Square was attended by hundreds of people. Representatives from more than a dozen trade unions and migrant organisations, including the TSSA, the TUC, the IWGB and the Filipino Domestic Workers Association, listened to speeches and held a photobomb proclaiming our message of solidarity, support and celebration.
The London rally was one of 22 events taking place across the capital. Elsewhere in the country migrants and their supporters held rallies, street stalls, communal meals and other events celebrating migrants in Birmingham, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Cardiff and other places. In Sheffield, some 250 people marched through the city centre to hear speeches from local community representatives on the steps of the town hall. In Bath dozens of people held a photobomb in the city centre. In Cambridge supporters of our campaign staged a powerful and haunting piece of street theatre celebrating and supporting migrants.
Overall turnout was less than it was last year. Nevertheless the publicity that we received was greater. For the first time our events were covered by national television and local news. Millions of people will have seen the sympathetic reports from Channel 4 and ITV and other outlets. One of the central aims of our campaign has been to change the narrative about migrants and migration and remind the public of the positive role played by migrants in UK society.
On Saturday we took a huge step towards that objective. We created a national platform in which migrants and their supporters were able to bring voices to the national conversation that are rarely heard. We are grateful to all those who helped to make this happen: the migrants and UK nationals who put so much hard work into preparing the events that took place in their localities, and who had the courage and conviction to make positive arguments about migration in these difficult times; the organisations that supported us and organised events under our umbrella.
We are especially grateful to Unison, Open Britain, Migrants Rights Network and the European Movement, all of whom made crucial contributions to our campaign and generously encouraged their supporters to participate. Whatever their backgrounds, campaigns and political persuasions, all these individuals and organisations came together on Saturday to let the country know that they are proud to be migrants and proud to stand with migrants, and we hope that is as much a source of pride to you as it is to us.
1 Day Without Us
Proud to be a migrant
Proud to stand with migrants