Throughout Scotland artists, businesses, organisations and members of the public are getting involved with the One Day Without Us campaign for a national day of action to highlight and celebrate the contribution of migrants in the UK on Monday, February 20.
Activities are planned across Edinburgh and groups have recently come together in Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway Inverness, with interest from as far as Gairloch in the Highlands.
One Day Without Us imagines what the UK would really be like for a single day without migrants? The impact would be disastrous with economy, food supply, health service, education system, transport system and much more being crippled.
Without the contributions of migrants the UK would be poorer, duller and unrecognisable.
The campaign began in October 2016 in response to the growing racist and xenophobic discourse that has followed the EU referendum and the consequent rise in both verbal and physical attacks on migrants. A national day of action on February 20 (also UN day of social justice) is planned as an act of solidarity with migrants living, working and studying in the UK. One Day Without Us seeks to celebrate the contributions of migrants, stand up for their rights and reject all politics of division and hate.
People are being invited to participate in any way that they can, for some that is taking form of a literal absence from their place of work, for others it is through celebrations, showing support through badge wearing and creative events.
Singer songwriter Rachel Taylor-Beales, who has been involved in the project since its inception said: “We are non partisan and invite anyone who wants to become involved to be as creative as they can be and invent their own way of participating in One Day Without Us. We want to see a range of activities unfold in locations across the UK throughout the whole day that reflects the immense diversity and richness of migrants’ contribution to the UK. We also invite everyone who supports us to take part in our unifying social media action at 1pm on the 20th Feb by linking arms and or taking a selfie photograph with a message of support and posting it on any social media platforms they have using the hashtag #1DayWithoutUs.”
Veterinarian Dr Marissa Robson has come forward to co-ordinate all the activity in Edinburgh. “I joined One Day Without Us because my mother was a Thai migrant. She was a housewife and her contribution to the UK was two professional children. I was concerned watching the media and politicians scapegoat the new wave of migrants. On behalf of the migrant that made me I wanted to show my support for migrant mothers who’s children feel British and will contribute to the UK, as we have. I wanted to challenge the one-sided dialogue about immigrants and help to create a day where the contributions of migrants past and present are recognised and celebrated nationally.
“In Edinburgh we are asking 100 businesses to show their support for One Day Without Us, through badges, celebrations and even an international cake competition. We are inviting the public to meet the migrant from 1:30pm at The Mound in Edinburgh’s city centre and providing presence and solidarity to migrants passing. Organisations who work with migrants have been invited to speak and promote their community work including The Wellcome Trust and Stand Up To Racism Scotland among others. Others are supporting the day in their own ways including Edinburgh Welcoming Association, Multi-cultural Family Base, Migrant Voice, Iranian Cultural Society, Polish Cultural Festival Society, Fruitmarket Gallery, Podemos Edinburgh, Migrants in Edinburgh and Edinburgh Vet School.
We also have an open mic for migrants to have their voices heard. In the evening at 5:30pm at The Mound we are holding a candle lit gathering with contributions from poets and musicians.
“I am really pleased that Imam Yahya Barry from the Edinburgh Central Mosque will speak at our event! It is really important to me that the British ethnic minority communities are involved, because the rise in hate crime post ref wasn’t just directed at migrants. Many of in the British BAME have felt similar feelings of anxiety and unwelcome since June.”
Scottish based musicians, Inge Thomson, Martin Green, Lau, Andrew Howie and Jo Whitby of Laurence Made Me Cry were amongst the first in a diverse collection of artists to offer their music and poetry to the One Day Without Us digital download album to help raise funds and awareness of the campaign, which is now available to purchase here https://onedaywithoutus.bandcamp.com/album/one-day-without-us
Award winning composer Martin Green has contributed Laws Of Motion penned by Karine Polwart, a song from his latest collaborative project Flit. “Flit is a project inspired by people’s stories of moving round the world. Of all the things we discovered through talking to people the single most obvious point to us at the end was; all animals have always moved around, and humans are no different.”
Edinburgh based Uta Rosenbrock is among one of the local businesses supporting One Day Without Us and is closing her shop for the day.
“I sell ethically sourced products from all over the world and have been in this business for 17 years, since my son was a baby. Permanent residency is very difficult for self-employed people, especially single mums. My son’s father is Scottish, but because we were not married my son is German, like me. I have, over the years, employed women from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Spain and of course Scotland. I have taken pride in being part of a vibrant, multicultural community in Edinburgh, volunteering for local projects such as a free community festival for years. Never have I questioned my right to be here, all my adult and working life has been in Scotland. Now, suddenly, all of that is in question. I will close my shop on the 20th of February in solidarity. I want the community to see what they stand to lose if we all leave and I want to spread awareness of who we are and what we contribute.”
Migrants from the countries shown on this map are involved in activities the length of the UK:
TATE Britain and TATE Modern have joined the campaign running tours of migrant artworks for One Day Without Us on Monday, February 20.
NUS (National Union of Students) has confirmed walkouts across the UK at 11am:
And Stop Trump has linked their actions to join One Day Without Us:
Details and timings of events happening within Scotland and the rest of the UK will be available on the website: http://www.1daywithoutus.org/feb20/