See some of the online reaction here.
On Friday 16 May, Right to Remain brought together 40 local people involved in campaigning for justice in the asylum and immigration system: people fighting for justice in their own cases, people who had won the right to stay, people involved in local support and campaigning groups, self-help group representatives, faith group representatives and those wanting to know how they could do more, take action, in solidarity with those seeking the right to remain in the UK.
The sun was beating down. In Manchester. Despite this, the training room was packed and people eschewed a lovely summer’s day to share their experiences, get involved in lively interactive activities, and start to build a movement to work together to win the right to remain for individuals, and to expose the injustices and abuses of the system for all.
The training event was all about solidarity – working together to fight for our rights, refusing to be beaten down by the system, campaigning for justice. The diverse group of participants got involved in some lively interactive sessions, learning about how the asylum and immigration system works, how it works against us, and how to help each other through it.
The solidarity theme was picked up by Right to Remain’s Chair, Paulette Mengnjo, introducing the evening event. Paulette described how she arrived in the UK seven years ago seeking sanctuary, and only a few months ago finally won her right to remain. Like so many others she was disbelieved, refused, made destitute, locked-up in detention. But because of the solidarity of her community – her friends, neighbours, church, colleagues at Right to Remain – she finally made it through.
The Coordinators of Right to Remain then spoke about the challenges we are facing – particularly with the new Immigration Act and further legal aid cuts, and with the border encroaching into our every day lives – and how communities’ responses, and building bridges and bonds between and within groups, is more essential than ever. The launch attendees had a bit of food, listened to some music, and chatted to Right to Remain staff, management committee and volunteers, to find out more about the work of Right to Remain, and how our work has changed since we were set up – as the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns – in 1995.
One attendee tweeted:
This week I’m inspired to do something -anything- useful,after several motivating events including @Right_to_Remain launch tonight.#activism
We were overwhelmed by the interest in both events – we will certainly be coming back to Manchester soon – and by the lovely thoughts and wishes shared on the day, in person and online.
Together we are stronger: the struggle continues.
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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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