Refugee Week 2017 in Brighton was slightly extended and took place over 2 weeks. Activities where organised by many groups, with Sanctuary on Sea coordinating. These are some of the events we attended or helped with. For a full program, see the Sanctuary On Sea website.
Blakers Park Community Picnic & Great Get Together
Starting off on June 17 with the Blakers Park Community Picnic and Great Get Together, in memory of Jo Cox MP. There was a food stall from the Sussex Syrian Community, which they shared with Sanctuary on Sea, providing information about their work in Brighton as a City Of Sanctuary. 2 members of the Syrian All Star Orchestra played a short set, including a piece they had composed especially for the day.
Music Fusion Fundraiser
We were very happy to jointly plan this event with the Sussex Syrian Community Group, Brighton & Hove Stand Up To Racism and Refugee Radio. The event showcased a diverse mixture of music, starting off with Linos and Polina, who describe their music as 'traditional Zimbabwean music with a Siberian wind' Polina is from Russia, and plays the flute, Linos the Mbira.
The next band Benav, play Anatolian folk, their music is quite a mix of influences and fusion, Middle Eastern sounds, and disco grooves. Next up came the Syrian All Stars, who tonight played classical music from Syria, and finally Indie rockers Mr Hyde. There was a good crowd, who supported and danced to all the bands.Local DJ's Boombastic played upstairs and delicious food was provided by the Syrian community. Funds raised on the night went to the Syrian Community Hardship Fund and B & H Stand Up To Racism. The event was held in The Latest Music Bar on Friday 23 June.
CONNECT @ BRIGHTON DOME
The final event, marking the end of Refugee Week was at a joint community get together, organised by Sanctuary on Sea, Hummingbird Project and The Brighton Dome on Saturday 1st July, with support from many other local organisations and individuals, the day was after the end of official Refugee Week, so as not to clash with the end of Ramadan, and to allow as many people to attend as possible. There was a range of food stalls, including Ethiopian, Syrian and Kurdish flavours, along with music and art work shops, poetry and live music. The day started with a 'Refugees Welcome' parade organised by Hummingbird Project, and finished with Sussex Indian Society, who had been raising awareness of the increasing marginalisation and violence against minorities in India, singing 'We Shall Overcome' in Hindi and English.
In 2017, there are sadly a great number of people fleeing their homes, because they are no longer safe places to live, affected by war and oppression. Whilst many of us may feel that we are unable to affect change on the terrible global events that are causing so many to flea for their lives, what we are all capable of doing is showing support and welcoming to those who have had to make new homes in our society. There are many organisations in the UK working to support people arriving here. In Brighton Sanctuary On Sea act as a coordinating group for many such organisations. The UK newspapers are often full of scare stories, scapegoating and marginalising refugees. Many peoples experience's of spending time with people who have come to live in the UK, has been vastly different from this, and has lead to new enriching, rewarding friendships.