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Why you should join the march against racism

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We need to hurl back the Tory government’s racist offensive. Activists say you should join the Stand Up To Racism national demonstrations in London and Glasgow on Saturday 21 March
Issue 2694
‘It’s absolutely vital we take a stand’ (Pic: Guy Smallman)

With the current climate of volatile politics locally and internationally, we need to mobilise our communities.

We have Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and other right wing politicians. If you’re not white, you’re not supposed to belong.

Anyone who believes in justice, should come out because we have to oppose our right wing government.

And it is important for people to come together as one and to defend humanity.

The 21 March is an international day against racism—the key is to remind people and raise awareness.

Rakhia Ismail

Labour councillor and mayor of Islington, north London

We are a country run by a racist leader—Boris Johnson—and there is no doubt about it.

It’s obviously a green light for racists when you have a prime minister saying Muslim women look like bank robbers and letter boxes. My mother, wife and sister do not look like bank robbers, my mother, wife and sister do not look like letter boxes.

Johnson says that black people have “watermelon smiles”.

And one of his advisers, who quit the government last month, says that black people have lower IQs.

When running for the Conservative leadership, Johnson promised that he would hold an inquiry into Islamophobia in his party—and we’re still waiting.

Boris Johnson is openly racist, misogynist and anti-immigrant. We have to stand together and fight racism—it doesn’t matter if you’re from eastern Europe, a Muslim, Jew or Christian or of no faith.

Mohammad N Asif

Chair of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation and founder of the Scottish Afghan Society

My partner Christopher was almost deported to Jamaica on a charter flight and is still in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre.

I’m speaking at meetings, doing stalls and have got a Go Fund Me page online to raise money for the campaign.

The stalls have been fantastic, with lots of people signing the petition.

You see that the Tories are not just going for black people, but others like European Union (EU) migrants.

We met a lot of people from the EU who are worried, stressed and upset about immigration.

When you really look back at everything Chris has gone through, you think they want Britain to be only British.

But it’s not just British people who make up this country, it’s all other cultures.

They are victimising black people and I have to look at my child and say, ‘I didn’t want that to happen to my son’.

Margaret Holmes

Campaigning to free her partner Christopher

It is critically important that we oppose the organised racist offensive by Boris Johnson and the Tory party.

This is a step change.

He’s borrowed the populist clothes of Nigel Farage to camouflage his nasty ruling class politics.

Out of the 21 March demonstrations, there has to be a renewed sense of unity and of building a movement against racism.

We need it to defeat deportations, the attacks on refugees and migrants, and importantly to send the message that divide and rule will not win.

The deportations are a new battleground for who belongs and who will be othered and we have to reject these politics.”

Weyman Bennett

Stand Up To Racism co-convenor and leading member of the Socialist Workers Party

We were all very shocked by the Windrush Scandal, but not very much seems to have changed.

The government is ramping up racism all over the place, particularly in the NHS.

In Barts Heath NHS Trust in east London, we’ve been campaigning against charges for migrants.

Everyone should be eligible for free healthcare.

But it’s also deterring people who are eligible because of the message it’s sending out, and you’re seeing racial profiling of people.

We found out that one in 20 women who had a baby at Barts were invoiced for maternity care in 2018-19. That can’t just be women who they know are not eligible for free care, just any woman that didn’t engage in their process.

The blame lies with the government. It’s clearly not about saving money—it’s about racism and charging all of us for care eventually.

Jackie Applebee

East London GP and campaigner against NHS migrant charges

I think the rise of racism is going to be one of the major things that progressives have got to challenge.

Therefore the biggest possible mobilisation for the march is essential.

We’ve got to send a signal to the government and all those who peddle division that we are mobilising to welcome people into this country and to stand against racism.

Mark Serwotka

PCS union general secretary

I am marching to say enough is enough. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016 we have seen an alarming increase in hatred and bigotry across all walks of life.

Minorities in Britain are becoming increasingly isolated and threatened by the rise of the hostile right.

This government, with its damning treatment of the Windrush Generation and shoddy treatment of EU migrants, has played directly in to this divisive and harmful narrative.

We should all take a stand for the progressive, open, welcoming society we all believe in, where people are welcomed regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.

Catherine West

Labour MP

It’s absolutely vital to take a stand because we are seeing a massive rise in the right wing, tipping toward fascism.

We’ve got a prime minister who has made genuinely racist remarks, and that allows racism to proliferate through society.

So every man, woman and child should be on the 21 March demonstration. We were involved in the anti-Trump demonstrations, making an effigy of him, and we’ll be making a Boris Johnson one for this one.

Lotte Collett

Labour Party and Stand Up To Racism activist in north London

There are anti-racist marches in London and Glasgow on Saturday 21 March. For details of the London march go here and for the Glasgow march go here 

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