posted by: Solutions Not Sides | on: Monday, 10 July 2017, 15:17
Following the attack on Finsbury Park Mosque on the 18th June, here at Solutions Not Sides we wanted to show our solidarity with the Muslim Community. During our recent Berlin tour, SNS Assistant Director, Jess, and our Israeli peace activist, Michal, decided to join our Palestinian peace activist, Yasser, and hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, in fasting for a day during Ramadan.
We aimed to raise £400 for HOPE not Hate, to support the extremely valuable work that they do challenging and defeating the politics of hate and extremism within local communities, building resilience against the politics of hate and extremism within local communities, and fighting extremism of all types. We believe in their ability to fight the kind of hate that was involved in the attack.
During our Day of Solidarity in Berlin, we wanted to show that no person, nor group of people, nor community should have to fear for their lives or fear for their dignity, and certainly not during such an important time. The Muslim community’s generosity and empathy stands directly in contrast to the hate, racism and fear that the attacker chose to embrace.
Whilst in Berlin, we were also extremely privileged to visit Wald-Gymnasium School, where we got to work with several Syrian and Palestinian Refugee students, alongside their German counterparts. These students brought fascinating insights on the Israel-Palestine conflict and future prospects for peace in the region. This visit coincided with World Refugee Day, which for us, further highlighted the importance of standing in solidarity with people from all over the world, and the tremendous amount we can gain from listening to, and engaging with, those whose experiences have been so different from our own.
We are incredibly grateful to the students and staff that made us feel so welcome and engaged so enthusiastically on World Refugee Day, and to HOPE not Hate for the admirable work they continue to do.
- Solutions Not Sides, are raising funds for us here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/solutionsnotsides
- You can visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/solutionsnotsides/
Posted: 10 Jul 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Vic Paulino | on: Tuesday, 4 July 2017, 20:44
Following the recent spate of terrorism attacks across London and Manchester our local mosque, Sutton Islamic Mosque, suffered from a serious graffiti incident.
Instead of closing up, the mosque opened its doors to the public to share in an iftar (Ramadan fast-breaking meal) and asked that people come with any questions about Islam and the Muslim faith. We felt that this was an opportunity for our local More In Common group to engage and help to dispel some of the misconceptions around Islam.
The imam spoke at length and made us all incredibly welcome, explaining that this was the end of Ramadan, and talked to us about the reasoning behind their fasting month. Once he had spoken, I was invited me to speak about the work we do to help build unity within communities.
By encouraging questions between all parties we felt that some issues were laid open and we found common ground to start building a better understanding between our different groups. We agreed to work together more closely to build a stronger local community and to help people understand that we have far more in common than most people realise.
As a further result of the issues that have dominated our news of late, on Saturday we supported a 'United against Extremism’ march, which included many local Muslims. Again, the More in Common group not only supported the march, but engaged with the various groups that took part in the demonstration and spoke out against the divisions that are highlighted by, in particular, the far right.
Speakers at the event included the local imams, key figures from the Buddhist and Christian faith, the leader of the local council, and representatives of the main political parties, who all addressed the 100+ attendees. As a sign of respect and remembrance flowers were laid.
More events are planned in conjunction with local faith groups and the More in Common team, as our community extends this partnership against extremism.
Posted: 4 Jul 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Harriet Protheroe Davies | on: Monday, 3 July 2017, 16:57
Last weekend Movement for Mental Health Merthyr held its first 'Weekend of Action', with events across the community including a free fitness boot-camp, free landscape drawing session, a session with occupational therapists and a free poetry night.
Vivian Protheroe attended our poetry night with Merthyr's famed 'Red Poets' and tells us why he thinks events like this are important to the local community...
"Saturday’s ‘Open Mic Night’ at Merthyr’s Imperial Hotel, held as part of HOPE not hate’s weekend programme dedicated to mental health issues, proved to be a great success, bringing together professional practitioners, voluntary organisers, the Red Poets, and most importantly those directly affected by mental health problems.
The readings proved to be very moving, both cathartic and creatively stimulating for the participants.
As a lover of poetry who has suffered from deep depression myself, I could readily appreciate their courage in openly communicating their stories in their own terms. What was really inspiring was the positive response of the audience and the tangible empowerment that it demonstrably gave to the stature of the readers.
Not all the readings were directly related to mental health issues, but all were relevant to the undeniable links between poverty, deprivation and mental health, which have for many years been a blight on the people of towns like Merthyr and its neighbouring valley communities.
Inevitably the recent horrific scandalous events of the Grenfell Tower fire in London were also the subject of several readers.
All-in-all the evening proved a valuable forum for informed discussion and with musical interludes was by no means all ‘doom-and-gloom’!
Why not set up your own open mic night wherever you are? Having been to this one as part of the Movement for Mental Health Merthyr, I can certainly say this was a much needed event for people like me who suffer (and have spent many years suffering) from mental health and have few places or outlets to discuss it."
(For anyone in Merthyr or the surrounding area, open mic nights are a regular feature at The Imp – anyone interested in poetry, listening, discussing, or better still expressing theirown story in their own voice should contact Meic Jenkins: [email protected])
Posted: 3 Jul 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: John Talbot | on: Monday, 26 June 2017, 10:24
You’re Boring I’m Bored is a new live music night in east London which showcases new talent and promises crowd interaction through ludicrous games and spot prizes.
When the snap election was called in April it felt only natural that we should have a party on the night to watch the result unfold, which eventually no-one could have predicted.
It also felt natural, given the divisive nature of politics recently and some of the more shocking events in the UK, that all profits raised should go to a charity that encourages cohesion in our communities and celebrates what unites us all rather than preying on our fears and perceived differences. As organiser it meant a lot to me to be working to fund HOPE not hate on the night.
The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch was quick to confirm the free use of its venue and team; the night was soon announced featuring DJs and live performances from local musicians.
Giving their time and talents by performing for free were singer & songwriter Harry Pane, Brighton’s The RPMs, stomping rockers Alexis Kings and Britwave upstarts SHINERS. The night was topped off with a last minute secret performance by Youth of the Apocalypse, which features members of Klaxons and Gorillaz as well as boasting for one night only guest rapper DMC (Darryl McDaniels) of legends Run DMC.
It proved an incredibly successful evening. As well as brilliant live music, punters were entertained by a live arm-wrestling contest between the upper and the working classes, plus a graffiti-slash-colouring-in contest that saw a political vision for Britain like never seen before!
With hundreds of £s raised for HOPE not hate, everyone came away feeling connected and confident that community and good times trumps extremism every time.
Posted: 26 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:37
We had a great turn out of Quaker friends joining us for a Great Get Together on Friday 16 June, celebrating with food, good company and plenty of fun.
The highlight, which left many quite emotional, was the prayer in the evening.
When the Muslims prayed their evening prayer after breaking their fast, the Quakers and friends of other faith backgrounds formed a semi-circle around them and said the prayer in their own faith.
We had more people turn up than we expected, which led us to pray out in the open – which worked out just brilliantly!
posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:31
Over 100 people created paper doves in memory of Jo Cox last Saturday at St Philip’s cathedral in Birmingham.
We screened a film showing different aspects of Jo Cox's life – as a mother, MP and campaigner – and two huge maps of Birmingham and the world where people played a prayer, showing that no matter where we had all come from, it was Birmingham that had brought us together.
Schools and visitors had been asked prior to the event to make 'a dove 4 jo' and bring it along on the day. There were so many doves hat we didn't have enough time to put them up on the tree which had been planted by Princess Diana more than two decades ago (the team had to put them up the following day to). Others made doves on the day and hung them on a 'special' tree.
We had live music played by different local artists and the Lord Mayor, the Bishop of Birmingham and more than 100 others who attended the event – a fantastic day for all.
posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:25
Hundreds of people came together in Ely and Cambridge last weekend, to celebrate the life and memory of Jo Cox and enjoy the Great Get Together.
People from across the Fens donated money to the local refugee resettlement campaign and signed up to support HOPE not hate at a stall in Ely market.
Then at a coffee morning in the local Methodist church, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Baha’is, Humanists and atheists joined Ely residents in conversation over a piece of cake and a cup of tea.
Finally at St. Mary’s Church, the main hub of the Ely Great Get Together, residents shared dishes from all over the world, made new friendships, while children drew messages of hope on human paper chains. The event would not have been possible without the support of Chris and volunteers from Ely Community Against Hate.
The next day we met in Arbury, the most deprived part of the city, with the support of the city council, human and migrant rights organisations, ethnic and faith communities, voluntary groups and local supporters.
We had speakers who spoke about why Cambridge is “home” – Shahida Rahman, a writer, spoke about being a Muslim woman of Bangladeshi origin but her family has called Cambridge home for the past 60 years.
Aisha Shu, a local activist and refugee from Uganda, told of how Cambridge residents raised thousands on pounds to pay for her legal fees and help her settle in the city. Mayor George Pippas shared his own story – of a refugee who came to Cambridge fleeing war in Cyprus – and how he was proof that anyone can make it in the UK and give back to the community.
Also on Sunday, we supported the Ely Muslim Association in organising their Great Get Together Iftar, while Sunday was a picnic on the Peterborough Cathedral Green organised with the support of the Cathedral, Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services, Peterborough Racial Equality Council, ethnic and faith community groups.
Be it in liberal Cambridge, in conservative Fens or in multicultural, but economically deprived Peterborough, the vast majority of people agreed that we have more in common than what divides us and that, as a country, we need to be more united, now more than ever!
posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:22
We had a wonderful, relaxing day in south Birmingham, where people enjoyed the food we had brought in, particularly our organising team member, Glenys, who baked her own scones!
In fact, we didn’t finish the food, but we all relaxed under a shady tree in the scorching hot weather, while chatting with people we’d not met before.
A case of ‘more in common’ than we realised!
posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:18
Hundreds of people came from across Balsall Heath in Birmingham last Sunday to join in Moseley Road’s first ever ‘Street Iftar’, celebrating the life of Jo Cox as part of the nationwide Great Get Together.
HOPE not hate supported the event, which with food donated by several local restaurants.
The event, supported by HOPE not hate, took place in a KwikFit car park and created a great buzz all over Birmingham. We expected about 500 people but had well over 700 who attended on the day! There were several live feeds on Facebook and social media, and we all shared food donated by several local restaurants.
Speakers were invited from different faith backgrounds – Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh, alongside Muslims – and we also had representation from the local city council who highly praised the initiative. The event was chaired by HOPE not hate.
People left quite emotional, stating how much they loved the evening and stating how much was a great need for such an event.
“We hope the Street Iftar will kickstart an annual intercultural and interfaith event where Balsall Heath can unite to break bread together,” said Dr Noha Nasser, of MELA social enterprise, who ran the event.
“It is the start of the regeneration of the Moseley Road as a key meeting place for the neighbourhood,” she said.
posted by: Nick Stevens | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:13
Around 1,000 residents of Rotherham and Sheffield came together across two fantastic Great Get Together events of celebration and solidarity in Rotherham’s Clifton Park and Sheffield’s Heeley City Farm, in memory of Jo Cox and also as a show of defiance to those who attempt to spread hate, fear and division in our communities.
Organised as small-scale community festivals, both events basked in glorious sunshine, as groups of friends and families enjoyed the uplifting atmosphere, engaged with the various activities and stalls on offer, made new friendships and reignited old ones.
On the Saturday in Rotherham, local musicians spanning the genres of African-inspired drumming, choristers, political folk and a young people’s dance group filled the running order at Clifton Park bandstand. A minute’s silence took place in memory of Jo, led by newly-elected Mayor of Rotherham, Eve Rose, and re-elected MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, who both made very moving speeches to an audience which observed the silence and subsequent addresses impeccably.
Throughout the day, Rotherham-based graffiti artist, the extremely talented Phil Padfield, gradually created a sepia portrait of Jo, with her immortalised ‘more in common’ words layered over the top. Local artist, and Rotherham Carnival organiser, Vicky Hilton, ran activities with youngsters while the Doncaster Real Junk Food Project provided food for the crowds.
Friends at the Rotherham 12 Justice Campaign, with whom HOPE not hate has been working, also ran a food tent, though this one specifically feeding Rotherham’s homeless community in the spirit of Ramadan.
The picturesque Heeley City Farm in Sheffield played host to over 500 of the city’s residents on Sunday, a day jammed full of music, art, activities, food and poetry.
Jazz, maypole dancing, Celtic folk rock, Southern African singing, R&B and Iranian folk were all the order of the day in the performance area, with SOSA-XA! encouraging the sun-soaked field into portions of audience participation. Sheffield-based poets River and Mimi followed another moving speech commemorating the life of Jo Cox, by MP for Sheffield Heeley Louise Haigh, with some verses written specifically for Sheffield’s Great Get Together on the theme of unity.
HOPE not hate activists roamed the field for the entirety of the event, striking up conversations with attendees and spreading a message of HOPE and friendship, while also monitoring the progress of the community static bike ride to Batley, which was conducted in solidarity with the residents of Jo’s former constituency. By 2:30pm the cyclists had peddled the 37 miles to Batley, fuelled by food courtesy of Sheffield Real Junk Food Project.
Throughout the course of the day children made beautiful music instruments at the My Arty Party, attendees placed coloured dots on a huge map of the world indicating their country of origin and the beauty of migration, engaged in other art projects led by friends at Sheffield Amnesty International, joined hula-hooping workshops and also just sat on the grass immersing themselves in the community atmosphere and enjoying a picnic.
With three divisive elections in two years, and with four error attacks within the space of three months, not to mention the horrors in Rotherham which have brought with it multiple far-right incursions, it was incredibly heartening to see so many people turn their backs on hate, turn out en masse and in unity and embrace the events so enthusiastically.
A big thank you to everyone who made the Great Get Togethers in Rotherham and Sheffield possible.