‘This is not goodbye’ Right to Remain pays tribute to Lisa Matthews, our departing Coordinator

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Today is our Coordinator, Lisa Matthew’s last day at Right to Remain. For 11 years, Lisa has been our inspiration and energy that made everything at Right to Remain possible.

Lisa joined Right to Remain in 2011, when the organisation was known as the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns. Lisa and her fellow Coordinator, Michael Collins, responded to the voices and needs of the groups that we were working with and supported the evolution of the organisation and its relaunch as Right to Remain in 2013.

Right to Remain’s newly developed programme provided information and resources, education and awareness-raising and community capacity-building and training, and more, and continues to do so always in the spirit of solidarity. Lately, These Walls Must Fall campaign was added to our programme, deepening our commitment to movement building.

Lisa developed Right to Remain’s flagship Toolkit, a ground-breaking, much admired and much used resource for people seeking asylum and trying to establish their right to remain in Britain. Lisa’s previous experience in providing psycho-social support to refugees in Cairo and asylum and immigration legal casework in the UK were brought together to create an accessible Toolkit. For many who are caught up in an often Kafkaesque asylum and immigration system, the Toolkit has been a real life-saver at their most desperate moment.

All who come into contact with Right to Remain are welcomed by Lisa’s warm smile and fierce sense of justice: she indeed embodied the ethos of our organisation. Her revolutionary spirit was infectious and brought in many supporters and allies. Behind the scenes, Lisa oversaw every aspect of Right to Remain’s day-to-day operation and management, which was always conducted with her meticulous attention to detail and with unfailing good humour.

We expect many of our colleagues and comrades to be queuing up to offer words of accolade and gratitude for our Lisa’s outstanding work. Above all, Lisa has been our great friend in and beyond Right to Remain, whose thirst for human dignity and abundance of compassion brings light and hope in our ever turbulent world.

That light and hope will continue to shine even as we at Right to Remain miss Lisa’s presence. And this is not goodbye, because our much cherished quest for collective joy continues. Thank you Lisa and our best wishes to you in whatever you do next. We know that you’ll continue to make a difference.

We need practical actions that make a difference to a person that day, we need bolder acts that disrupt the operating of the system that harms so many; and we also need to argue for a different way, a different society, a different world in which we recognise that Migration is Life.”

Lisa Matthews



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