Wednesday 01-02-2017 - 17:00
On Monday, tens of thousands of people marched across cities and towns in the UK in opposition to Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban, as well as Theresa May’s silence and complicity. Students from both universities and colleges formed a large bulk of the demonstrations. The energy and the anger about the growing ways in which governments scapegoat migrants and Muslims was palpable, and so was the feeling that we should fight to achieve a different society based on solidarity.
The demonstrations in the UK follow a week of large-scale mobilisations in the United States, and across the world, against Donald Trump, his cronies, and their divisive, racist, sexist, Islamophobic, and xenophibic agenda. But the frustration so many of us feel and is leading so many to take to the streets, has been many years in the making.
Successive governments across Europe and North America have been increasing measure of control against Migrants and Muslim communities for years. Detention centres, closed borders, shrinking visa pools, and deterioration of labour right on the one hand, and surveillance, criminalisation, and harassment on the other, have become the norm in many countries. The UK - with its Yarl’s Woods, Prevent Policies, and immigration quotas - is no different.
As part of the Liber8 Education campaign, the fight against Islamophobia and anti-migrant policies are central pillars of our work at NUS this year. I have written elsewhere about the importance of students in these struggles and the practical ways in which we can participate in the efforts to roll back many of these attacks.
Furthermore, in the context of Trump, May, and Brexit, NUS is organising a national summit on hate crime on Sunday 12 March, for us to take stock collectively of the situation we are in, discuss and share ideas with people at the forefront of many of these struggle, and crucially, to strategise and develop new ways for students to fight back.
The event will involve the contribution of, amongst others, Janaya Khan from the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, Gary Younge, the Guardian Editor in Chief and Yasser Louatti, a Civil rights activist France, and many others.
The summit will be open to all – students and non-students – and will focus on developing our struggles in the months to come.
It is easy to feel defeated and demoralised when looking at the world today. But the scenes of tens of thousands of people taking to the streets on both sides of the Atlantic making solidarity and collective struggle a practical reality, also shows the way out of our current predicament.
As always, the struggle continues, and hopefully this summit can play its part in bringing us together, strengthening existing campaigns, and developing new ones.
The event is free entry, but please register in advance in order to attend!