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One Day Without Us: when parliament debates, we must speak up

Friday 17-02-2017 - 11:58

On Monday, whilst parliament debates Trump’s state visit to the UK, the NUS International Students Campaign is asking all students across the country to show solidarity with migrants of all kinds, be they migrants of choice and those of circumstance. Daniel Nasr, President of Goldsmiths Students’ Union and a member of the International Students’ Campaign, tells us more about Monday’s action.

Whether through tweeting under the hashtags #1DayWithoutUs and #Students4Migrants or organising walkouts and gatherings in university squares, it is imperative that we come together under the banner of unity to oppose all attacks on our members. 

When parliament debates, we must speak up. 

At Goldsmiths, we’re doing a number of things. After passing support for the event at our Student Assembly under the #TrumpTheBan motion, we’ve teamed up with UCU to coordinate both a staff and student walkout at 1pm and then a gathering in the university quad to hear from key people in the college, from migrant members of staff, to students, to the local UCU president. We will then be making our way to meet other London based SUs outside SOAS so that we can march to parliament as an education bloc. Any other London SUs I'd encourage to do the same!

From the morning we will be doing banner drops around campus, leafleting for both the walkout and subsequent demo outside parliament later that day, and speaking to students through our ‘SU on Tour’ about why it is important to stand with our migrant members, both students and staff.

We are also encouraging our students to email their local MPs and urging them to be at the debate and vote against allowing Trump into the UK. You can find a template email for your students to use on NUS Connect here!

We must recognise that the issue of hostility towards migration is not limited to the US, it is happening here in the UK. Over the past year, this government has constructed the ‘Great Wall of Calais’, sending a record number of refugees back to Afghanistan, and signed a volatile deal with Turkey. Just last week, we saw the first sign of British style ‘Trumpism' with the new cap on unaccompanied refugee minors entering the country, at just 350.

On Wednesday (15 February), the International Students Campaign met with a representative of Dunkirk Legal Support, a small grassroots volunteer organisation that is helping unaccompanied minors in France gain passage into the UK. The stories we heard were devastating, with increased regulations and litigation restricting minors from receiving any aid at all. 

You can read more about what the government has done to migrants here.

We are living in the middle of a crisis. Not a refugee crisis, nor a migrant crisis, but rather a crisis of narratives and rhetoric. A crisis that sees migrants, refugees and international students alike as socio-economically and politically inferior. A crisis that witnesses the election of a racist, sexist, little orange man as President of the United States and a crisis in which our government stands by and clings on to a toxic policy of appeasement. 

A crisis, indeed. 

One that if goes unchallenged will have a detrimental effect on our culture, context and community as students, young people and allies to those who have systematically felt the blunt of this impending crisis for years. We must stand together and for one another, now and always. 

Please contact myself or any member of the campaign if you need any guidance and I’m looking forward to see how SUs will engage with this on Monday!

Check out the videos from NUS below to find out more about the day.

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