Saturday will be vital day for Hastings people to express their coming together to oppose racism according to Maya Evans.
“We’ll stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants to send a powerful message to those in power that racism will be defeated,” she says.
Saturday (March 20th) sees World Against Racism and Fascism – an international coalition of anti-racist movements – coming together in a global day of action to mark United Nations Anti-Racism Day opposing all forms of racism and fascism. In Britain, the day of action is being called by Stand Up to Racism and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
At the beginning of the month there was an online launch to the campaign in Hastings. Chaired by Anna Maria Nabirye the event was opened and closed by spoken word poet Paris Grande. A range of speakers took part including Nadia Sayed from Stand Up to Racism, Wilf Sullivan, TUC Race Equality Officer, Bella Fashola, from the RMT union, Dawn Dublin, Black Butterfly, Ethan, a former resident of Napier Barracks and Hasting Borough Councillor Maya Evans representing Voices for Creative Non-Violence.
The need to combat racism, fascism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism was emphasised by all the speakers and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a surprise guest, he was the initiator of the Peace and Justice movement and spoke fondly about Hastings and summed up the previous speakers’ powerful testimonies by talking about his lifelong commitment to anti-racism.
Help from Hastings Borough Council means there are posters along the seafront advertising the day. The council will also light up Bottle Alley in purple which is the chosen colour of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ms Evans says: “Everyone is being asked to take the knee at 1pm, wherever they are and there is an international online rally taking place at 5pm.
“Window posters have gone up all over town in flats, houses, shops and businesses. For those planning to walk somewhere along the three miles of seafront from West St Leonards to the Stade around midday, draping a banner on the railings would be a symbolic gesture. You may also spot bike riders with hi-viz tabards saying: ‘World Against Racism and Stand Up to Racism’.
“The day of action is happening in the wake of the historic Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic which has exposed institutional racism at the heart of society by its disproportionate impact on BAME communities.
“The fact that we had so many people at our launch and we now have a growing mailing list shows that this is an issue which unites us. We commit ourselves to working alongside Hastings Community of Sanctuary, HCoS Campaigns Team, Hastings Supports Refugees, the Trade Unions and all other organisations locally, nationally and internationally to eliminate racism once and for all,” says Ms Evans.
She adds: “The event has created such momentum in a matter of weeks it is not going to end after March 20th. We will be organising further activities in the future, so if you want to get involved with Hastings Stand Up to Racism email firstname.lastname@example.org or look at their Facebook page.”