Speak Out

organise

It is July 2014: As a Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention launches, several Migrants Organise members gather in West London. All have experienced immigration detention – humiliation, handcuffed to a hospital bed where people take photos and laugh; stress, as brutal behaviour by guards brings back memories of violence, prison and torture; fear, not knowing how long we will be held. We share our stories, safe in the office, and draw strength from others who understand our experiences. Together, we write up our evidence and send it to the inquiry. More and more people come forward; we decide to launch a campaign.

Together we train and prepare to tell our stories. First, we speak at a vigil of 150 people, then at a summit in front of 400 people, moving the audience to act and write to their MPs. We speak in oral evidence sessions in parliament. We share our stories in the papers, in TV interviews and in meetings with prospective MPs in the run up to the general election in 2015. Finally, a dozen of us stand on stage at a General Election Assembly organised by Citizens UK. In front of 2,200 people and Conservative minister Sajid Javid, two members tell their stories and say, ‘it’s time for a time limit’ on immigration detention. We see the room react.

It’s 2016. We’ve spoken in parliament, in front of Jeremy Corbyn, in schools and colleges, and outside detention centres. An unprecedented parliamentary consensus is building to overhaul immigration detention – and a movement is growing. Without our voices, we would not see this change. Speaking out has taken us from being people who have suffered at the hands of the system, to becoming active citizens and campaigners. Our experiences are now our source of power.

Green Paper Proposes Changes to Legal Aid

Green Paper Proposes Changes to Legal Aid

Nov 19 2010

On 15 November 2010 Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke unveiled a programme of wide-ranging reform to legal aid and civil litigation costs as…

Who Watches the Watchmen? Immigration Inspectors Can Be Your Friends

Who Watches the Watchmen? Immigration Inspectors Can Be Your Friends

Nov 18 2010

This Tuesday I attended an Inside Government conference on Immigration in the UK: Ensuring Cohesion and Protecting Public Services, tackling in detail a…

MRCF Recognised as Leaders in Integration by Deputy Mayor Barnes and Cllr. Ahern

MRCF Recognised as Leaders in Integration by Deputy Mayor Barnes and Cllr. Ahern

Nov 12 2010

Last Friday, MRCF warmly welcomed Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes from GLA and Cllr. Tim Ahern from RBKC to show how integration and…

Refugee and Migrant Social Entrepreneurs and Big Society

Refugee and Migrant Social Entrepreneurs and Big Society

Oct 19 2010

Last week, MRCF hosted a group of refugee and migrant social entrepreneurs to discuss their role in Big Society and the challenges…

Migrants for London [video]

Migrants for London [video]

Oct 07 2010

Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN), with the support of MRCF, recently produced and launched- ‘Migrants for London’. This video explores the conflicting reality…

MRCF Celebrates A Successful Year at AGM

MRCF Celebrates A Successful Year at AGM

Oct 07 2010

On September 23, MRCF celebrated our accomplishments over the last year. Zrinka Bralo, MRCF Executive Director, gave a presentation about our programmes’…

Why is digital activism important for migrants and refugees?

Why is digital activism important for migrants and refugees?

Oct 04 2010

As MRCF prepares for its second course on Digital Activism, I have been contemplating why and how digital activism is crucial for…

A Room without Walls

A Room without Walls

Sep 29 2010

The words below are a true account by one of the Active for Rights group members. The narrative was developed collectively through…

A day in the life of our Advice Worker

A day in the life of our Advice Worker

Jul 28 2010

This morning started with a pleasant surprise. In May 2009 I wrote to the Home Office on behalf of one of my…

Will ‘big society’ be big enough for all of us?

Will ‘big society’ be big enough for all of us?

Jul 23 2010

Yesterday I was working with the Co-ordinator of one of MRCF’s member organisations on a funding application. At the end of the…