A Social Day of Action
On Monday 20th February, World Day of Social Justice, Leeds will be taking part in the national One Day Without Us campaign. This is not a protest but a social day of action to unite the migrant and ethnic minority groups in Leeds, to stand together against racism and xenophobia.
EDIT: More information can be found here, now that place and time are confirmed.
Our prime aim is to show the vast number of ethnic groups across Leeds; how much we contribute to the economy of the city and (in regards to the national campaign) the country. We want to show all those who tell us to “go home” that the city would not be as economically stable or culturally vibrant if we were to just leave. For the same reason, we want to take the day as an opportunity to have fun, share our cultures whilst raising awareness to the 58% rise in racial or religiously aggravated hate crimes, by September, since the vote for “Brexit”.
How to take part:
Anyone can take part. This national campaign is aimed for migrant groups to take the day off and show how important we are to the community of our cities and the UK as a whole. There will be more of an impact, however, if non-migrant or non-ethnic minorities join, too. So, if you have friends, family or co-workers who are part of an ethnic minority group, take part to show your support and show that you stand with them and you are against racism, too. Bring as many people as you can: your co-workers who want a lie-in on a Monday morning; your family and friends who want to meet new people from different backgrounds and learn about new cultures; if you’re a university student, like me, email your lecturers that day to tell them why you won’t be there and provide a link to the One Day Without Us page so that they can find out more, too.
Remember: it is your right, no matter who you are, to take part in political and social action.
On the 20th, don’t spend any money. Don’t buy any clothes, don’t fill up your car and don’t buy food – no spending. This is specific for the Leeds day. We are hoping to have free food available or you can bring your own snacks bought on a different day. One Day Without Us aims to show how economically vital migrants and ethnic groups are to the economy, not just by taking a day off but also by not spending any money. This way, they’ll be a calculable decrease of money within the city during our day of social action.
If you can’t manage to get the full day off, perhaps you may be able to take an hour’s break to take part in the social action, or possibly come after work? It is impossible to expect everyone to take time off work for this day, even as a holiday, a sick day or even just the hour. Therefore, we ask that if you can’t do this, please buy a badge from us (information as to where will come soon), wear it on the 20th February and don’t spend any money (if you are in Leeds). This way, you will still be able to have an economic impact and show how the British economy relies on immigrants from all over the world. You can also take part by printing off leaflets (found on the Facebook page) and distributing them to your friends, family and workplace; tweet about the event before and during the 20th; and of course, please sponsor the event my helping us fundraise (details of how to do this will come soon).
Finally, as we want this to be a day to celebrate the cultural diversity of Leeds and meet new people whilst standing against the growing wave of xenophobia, bring your nation’s flag. Wave it high and proud, wear it as a pin or a t-shirt, the choice is yours. The more different flags, the more diverse passer-by will see Leeds to be. We have so much to treasure in Leeds which rich, vast cultures and languages, all should be loved and publicised to show everyone how we all come from different places but we can stand together to fight inequality and relish the diversity we all bring to Leeds.
The place where the event will be held is yet to be confirmed. Either follow the Facebook page or follow the hashtag “#1DayWithoutUs” on twitter to find out more about events taking place in Leeds or in other cities.
I hope to see as many of you there as possible. Don’t forget to share the news with as many people as possible and, if you’re not in Leeds, find out what is going on in your nearest city to celebrate cultural diversity on this social day of action. It’s going to be a fun day whilst still sending a clear political message: the UK needs migrants.