On Saturday something amazing happened. People from all over Europe congregated in London to show their support for all those refugees currently struggling to find their place in this world. Tens of thousands of men, women and children joined the Solidarity with Refugees march to Parliament Square led by a group of refugees; including some of our friends made from our campaigning with Women for Refugee Women. Everyone was there to send a message to the government.
Refugees are welcome here.
Although the WI steers clear of aligning itself with political groups (all views are welcome ladies) it doesn’t mean that we won’t stand up and show support for people who need a voice.
For those who have never marched before I say – try it – stand up – use your body to demonstrate the essence of your heart – there is nothing quite as remarkable as a group of people coming together for a common cause.
Once the backlog of people cleared and we started to march forward I heard a hum in the crowd…I couldn’t believe it… a song…‘Do you heeear the people sing? Singing the song of…’
what?…why are you raising your eyebrows?
OK, OK. So the crowd didn’t burst spontaneously into that stirring song from Les Mis but – honest to God – it had the same sentiment. One collective voice. And It sang…
‘Sing it loud, sing it clear, refugees are welcome here’
The best thing about these marches is the amazing ways people find to communicate their messages – a few of my favourite included a ‘Welcome’ door mat, an intricately cross stitched placard stating ‘Refugees Welcome’ (pictured below) and a child holding a sign she’d made out of a Shreddies box that morning – my heart literally broke.
The march ended with speakers in the square including of course the Corbynator…sorry, the Corbynmeister. Crap! Sorry! Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected leader of the Labour Party. Again the WI is non-party-political but I will say this; the agitation of both the media and of all the political parties (including Labour!) following his appointment will surely spark more debate on issues as important as this one. And that cant be a bad thing.
Blog post by Katie Pepper for Shoreditch Sisters