Windrush, Racism and the Hostile environment: meeting last Monday with campaigning lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie

Although Diane Abbott was not able to attend the meeting last minute, due to the ongoing parliamentary Brexit deadlock, Barnet TUC and Barnet Momentum were very privileged to have an inspiring and heartfelt speech from one of the hardest working human rights lawyers in Britain. Jacqueline McKenzie has been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of the so-called Windrush Generation, a group of people affected by systemic injustice that, as she reminded the audience, most of the public only really became aware of this time last year.

SEE VIDEO OF MEETING

McKenzie took us through some of the terrible cases she has had to deal with, involving people who frequently had no idea that their rights to remain in Britain were under threat, suddenly facing threats to their very lives and basic safety due to being deported to countries they frequently hardly knew. The background to this, she explained has been decades of increasingly severe nationality legislation. Although Theresa May’s term as Home Secretary may have ushered in the worst of it, the sad truth is both major parties have contributed over time to laws that disadvantage mainly from from majority non-white countries. This disproportionately affects the poorest and most disadvantaged of those people, who are least able to to pursue ever more complex processes to prove that they can live and work in Britain. Although many of the high profile cases have concerned Caribbean and African people, McKenzie warned that many more people can and will be affected. She cited the recent decision by current Home Secretary Sajid Javid to strip so-called “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum of British citizenship as an example of the rules being made unnecessarily tougher yet again: Begum is a defenceless teenager, with no real hope of making a life in her parents’ native Bangladesh, and taking British nationality from her has been cruel and unjust decision that too many have been slow to oppose.

We left the meeting in no doubt that our movement must to much more to fight racist, discriminatory and repressive immigration laws, and there was an impassioned plea for the event to be a starting point for greater anti-racist activity in our borough by Stand Up to Racism.

After Christchurch, #WorldAgainstRacism demos launch global movement against racism & the far right

Saturday saw #WorldAgainstRacism demonstrations take place around the world in an unprecedented coordination of international solidarity for UN Anti Racism Day.
  • In London, 25,000 marched, with demonstrations also taking place in Glasgow (1,000) and Cardiff (1,000).
  • See our round up gallery of photos HERE from the demonstrations that took place from the US – in New York and Washington DC – to right across Europe, including Germany, Austria, Poland, France, Greece, Denmark, Turkey, Ireland, as well as Australia.
  • More demonstrations, including Catalunya and Spain, the Netherlands, and Norway are set to take place this week.
  • 🌍See the map of global actions HERE🌍
These demonstrations came a gravely poignant moment, taking to the streets the day after the horrific racist massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The London Demonstration stopped off at New Zealand House to lay a wreath for the victims of the atrocity, and speaker after speaker pledged solidarity with Muslim community in challenging the horrific and growing wave of Islamophobia.

The horror we witnessed in New Zealand – like the attacks that took place on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and a black congregation in Charleston – underlines why these marches are so important – we need to build mass anti racist movements internationally to oppose a growing, murderous far right.
The #WorldAgainstRacism initiative is a major step forward for the global anti-racist movement, taking a positive message of multiculturalism and diversity onto the streets and bringing together the most powerful alliance possible to challenge the rise of racism, fascism, Islamophobia & antisemitism.
In Britain, the fantastic support from #Unions4Unity and the inspiring engagement from Love Music Hate Racism‘s #BeautifulResistance campaign involving major labels and artists, along with a broad range of speakers from the TUC, the unions, Muslim and Jewish organisations, campaigners from Windrush to justice over deaths in custody, and prominent figures like poet Michael Rosen and Chelsea’s first black player Paul Canoville, took the unity of the anti racist movement to a new level.
We have much work to do in the coming months to deepen and strengthen this movement – we need your support!

Barnet goes to the Anti-Racism Demonstation

Facebook event here.

1. Meet 11.00 on platform at East Finchley . Depart 11.15 – change Tottenham Court Road onto Central Line – to either Bond Street or Marble Arch.

2. Meet 11.00 on platform at Finchley Central. Depart 11.15 – change Tottenham Court Road onto Central Line – to either Bond Street or Marble Arch.

Then 12.15 – 12.30 go to Barnet meeting point at top of Park Lane in front of Marriott Hotel

Never Again! Remembering the horror of the Holocaust and fighting fascism today

Unite Against Fascism, in conjunction with Stand Up To Racism and others, is hosting public meetings around the country to reflect on and remember the horrors of the Holocaust as part of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Understanding our history is important for the lessons for today. We are currently seeing a growth in the far right across Europe, the US and Brazil, with fascist forces gaining confidence and seeking to exploit a context of political crisis and polarisation.
With a backdrop where racism is being pushed and generated from the establishment, breathing oxygen into such dangerous forces of division, these discussions are crucial not only to educate, but also to look at how we can organise best now to make ensure that #NeverAgain is a reality.
HERE is a list of Holocaust Memorial Day events taking place across the country, supported by Stand Up To Racism. Don’t hesitate to email us for any more information: info@standuptoracism.org.uk
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