Why have a #StandTogether campaign? For actor Shobu Kapoor the answer is obvious: “United we stand, divided we fall — and I would like very much to stand and not to fall.”
Speaking as a guest at the launch of the campaign at Migrant Voice’s office in central London, she said, “The voices of division, fear and hate can be very loud and the voices of peace and love tend to be quieter calmer voices.
“It’s important these quieter voices are heard,” she emphasised, “and not just those who shout the loudest.”
The campaign was a way of bringing those voices out, particularly now, in the wake of the Brexit referendum, she said. Although the referendum result had been a protest vote by people who felt neglected — “it was valid, people expressing their concern but it opened a kind of Pandora’s Box from which burst things that society tended to suppress.
“I think it also fanned the flames of fear.”
Kapoor pointed out that Immigration has long been a hot topic. “Years ago I remember thinking, ‘What about me? I’m an immigrant: shall I get on a boat and go back to India? I’ve got nothing there. This is where I made my life, with a European, where my daughter was born and brought up.’“
To counter hate crime, she suggested, it was necessary to underline the importance of communicating with one another, human to human, because underneath the clothes and skin colour “we are all the same, we’re all humans, all living on the planet.”
In addition, rather than being scared or shying away from people of a different culture or way of life, it was good to ask questions: “Go up and honestly express your ignorance and say ‘Hi I don’t know who you are. Tell me.’ You can start a great conversation that way."
+ Use these hashtags for the #StandTogether campaign:
The campaign is initiated by Collaboration House, a hub for like-minded organisations – including interfaith and non-faith organisations - collaborating to strengthen their work to build bridges and understanding between different communities, for a more cohesive and just society.
Collaboration House member organisations:
Migrant Voice; Faiths Forum for London; Women’s Interfaith Network; Christian Muslim Forum; Council of Christians and Jews; Faith Based Regeneration Network; Integrity UK; International Debate Education Association; London Borough Faiths Network; Islamic Society of Britain; Nisa-Nashim; Sadaqa Day; European Network on Religion & Belief UK