Speaking for Ourselves

Stand up and be heard

Stand up and be heard

By Migrant Voice

 Migrant Voice - Stand up and be heard

June’s Brexit vote created widespread uncertainty for people across Britain – particularly EU migrants unclear about their futures and livelihoods. And the referendum result was taken advantage of by a small minority desperate to use the vote as an excuse to peddle an agenda of hate. 1,900 hate crimes were reported in the last week of July, the worst this year; prompting us to work with a broad range of organisations to run the #StandTogether campaign against hate crime – backed by politicians, faith leaders, trade unions and NGOs. 

Across the world, anti-migrant campaigns have sprung up – from the election of Donald Trump in the US, to Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, to far-Right candidate Norbert Hofer, who only narrowly lost the Austrian presidential election. Many of these campaigns have whipped up fear and hatred among the worst-off in their own societies, and turned it on the worst-off arriving from abroad.
The predicament of many of the most vulnerable migrants has worsened around the world. The Calais "jungle" has been destroyed and its inhabitants dispersed in a confusing and dangerous process. The Syrian civil war has raged on, and events in Aleppo (as well as the ongoing siege of Mosul in Iraq) are likely to create more refugees. 
The Middle East is far from the only region of displacement. Unrest in Eritrea and conflict in Nigeria and Afghanistan continue to force many to abandon their homes, violence in South Sudan has created over a million refugees.
Today there are more than one billion regional and international migrants – that’s one in seven of us. Globalisation is bringing us closer together, and climate change is likely to make ever larger numbers of people relocate. Denver philosophy professor Thomas Nail argues that this will be the century of the migrant. 
The migrant may be a central figure in modern developments – but they are rarely allowed to speak for themselves. Debates over the costs and benefits of migration routinely ignore migrant voices. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from all backgrounds are lumped together and made the subject of sweeping generalisations. The number of visible migrants in the media, politics or public life remains disproportionately small. 
The volume of our voices lags far behind the volume of our contribution. Next year a day of action - One Day Without Us – will be held to show how important migrants are to the UK workforce, from NHS doctors to those who staff the hospitality sector. The action will be unprecedented and significant; but not even begin to measure the contribution migration makes not just to the economy, but to a nation’s culture, communities and daily lives. Opposition to migration is statistically highest in areas where migration is lowest – where many have never met or engaged with a migrant except through scare stories. 
That’s why our mission is more important than ever – to help migrants develop our own voices, and gain access to the networks and resources that allow us a platform, so that those most affected by our changing world can have some small say in how it changes.

Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

Our Social Links

Sign up for our newsletter

For more information on how your data is stored and used please see our privacy policy

Read our recent newsletters