Monday 20th February is “One Day Without Us” - a national day of action on 20th February 2017, in support migrants living, working, and studying in Britain.
The broad group behind the event is organising migrants to celebrate everything that we bring to Britain, and asking everyone to imagine a world without migrants and migration.
Like others, this nation was built on migrants. And like many other nations, there have always been people willing to welcome new migrants, from Huguenot refugees in the 17th Century to those who gathered at Waterloo Station to celebrate the arrival of the Windrush in 1947.
Today 5.5million British-born people are migrants living abroad, many British citizens are the children of migrants, and many foreign nationals call Britain home. Worldwide there are over 100 million migrants. Movement is a normal part of any society, and it is here to stay.
Not only is it natural, it’s beneficial. This is not just about recognising the vital skills gaps in the NHS plugged by lifesaving migrant workers, or the billions more that new migrants put into the economy compared to what they take out. It’s about recognising the friendships, families, culture, art, food, entertainment and community spirit that has formed around those who have arrived on these shores.
The way in which migrants have brought our world together is ignored by those who insist the solution to economic problems is more walls and tighter borders. Politicians and headline-writers who attack migrants instead could be talking about investing in communities that have been left behind, creating new jobs and homes, and providing support for real integration and cohesion. But they prefer to duck the real debates.
One Day Without Us is a chance for migrants to set the record straight; to show the compassionate and fair-minded majority in Britain the value that we have brought, and continue to bring. With the divisive policies of Donald Trump, the Brexit process and a range of events that have created confusion and in some cases fear for migrants, public acts of solidarity are more important than ever.
There are activities listed on the event’s website in local areas across the country and we will be posting our own contributions on social media and encouraging others to tweet their reasons for supporting the day of action at us. We hope you’ll get involved, and join the campaign for a fairer migration debate.