On 20 September 2023, Right to Remain organised a small brainstorming session with legal experts, to continue our quest to protect our community battling with the hostile asylum and immigration system.
We approached legal experts whom we admire and who understand our ethos of mutual aid and radical solidarity, and asked if they could help us think about how we should be developing our legal education work.
It was a real privilege to be joined by Jen Ang, Director of Development & Policy at JustRight Scotland, Sairah Javed, Solicitor and Senior Caseworker at JCWI, Bethan Lant, Training, Development and Advocacy Manager at Praxis and Sonia Lenegan, Editor at Free Movement.
With the demise of the legal aid sector and hardening asylum and immigration laws, at Right to Remain, we know that we need to step up. But the tiny size of our team means that the number of brains around the table remains small. This is where Jen, Sairah, Bethan and Sonia stepped in to help us.
Our discussion ranged from identifying specific parts of the immigration process that our community is particularly struggling to understand and navigate, debating pros and cons of our Toolkit providing more detailed information, and how to approach emerging hot topics when we know that the situation is still evolving. We considered what more can be done to ensure our community members use the Toolkit in a way that does not overwhelm them, as well as which cohorts of people we should be reaching out to as part of a longer-term plan to assist them to use and cascade the Toolkit with others.
In one of the participants’ words ‘campaigners will campaign to the end, but in the meantime we have to make things better for people now.’ Our community is living through this legal advice gap right now – and while we campaign for a better, collective, future, we must ensure our community’s survival today.
People who attend our workshops have been generous in their feedback, saying how energised they feel interacting with us. Likewise, people who use our Toolkit have regularly commented, often unprompted, how vital our resources are to them. We are also lucky to have people on our side who energise us – we appreciate our cheerleaders, Jen, Sairah, Bethan and Sonia who shared their wisdom and ideas with us. Thank you for your solidarity.
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On reaching the UK, people face a hostile environment. Without help, many will be forcibly sent back to the wars, persecution and misery they have fled.
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