Solidarity from Hackney with Refugees in Calais

Hackney Stand up to Racism held a successful and widely supported solidarity evening on 2nd December that raised over £2000 for Care 4 Calais to continue their work helping refugees rendered homeless after the camp at Calais was destroyed last year by the French authorities.

Solidarity event at the Z bar Stoke Newington

Speaking about their work, Claire Mosley from Care4Calais said:

“A year on from the destruction of the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp by the French state and things are much worse for the refugees in the area. No-one is saying the ‘jungle’ was good, but it was a place which provided some sort of support structure. Now the refugees are sleeping rough in the countryside around Calais and Dunkirk and on the streets of Paris. I’m scared people will die of exposure. After a day giving out aid we get very wet and cold. But we can go home and dry out and warm up. The refugees can’t. Their tents get wet after one night and don’t dry out. And the police take what little they have in any case. We’re trying to meet their immediate needs. We’re trying to supply warm coats. But I’m scared that as the winter goes on refugees will die. The money you’ve donated will go to buy the things they need to keep warm.” 

 Sasha Simic for Hackney Stand Up to Racism and Fascism opened the night:

“The refugee crisis continues to shame Europe. Over 3,000 refugees have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year. Over 300 refugees are trying to exist in the areas around Calais and Dunkirk. The UK’s right-wing media and their political allies are running an on-going campaign against refugees as part of a general racist offensive. The good news is that many people reject this racist narrative. They can see that refugees are human beings who are trying to escape war and poverty. They come from Syria and Afghanistan and Libya and other areas blighted by war. It’s estimated that after the picture of Aylan Kurdi, the little boy who drowned with most of his family trying to reach Europe, appeared in the media one in three people in the UK participated in helping refugees.

We have found it very easy to collect donations for tonight’s fundraiser. This is only a small example of the potential goodwill we can tap into to help organisations like Care4Calais. This is not charity, it is solidarity with our brothers and sisters. We have to continue to resist racism in all its manifestations. How dare our rulers scapegoat migrants and refugees! The same people who were exposed by the Paradise Papers as evading and avoiding their taxes amounting to billions of pounds are the people telling us refugees and migrants are a 'drain' on public services. It is a lie to say the fifth largest economy in the world "cannot afford" to take in the refugees of Calais and Dunkirk. It is a scandal that in the 21st century there are people without a roof over their heads. We say, Open the Borders! Let them In!

The event was widely supported. Several organisations, workplaces and trade unions raised money including: Hackney Woodcraft Folk, Stoke Newington School, St Leonard's Hospital, Hackney UNITE,  Hackney National Education Union. Bucket collections were organised around the borough and at the Round Chapel Community Meal and a number of individuals and local businesses made donations towards the raffle including Pages bookshop, the Rio and Castle cinemas.  

You can donate to Care4Calais here

By Richard Payne

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