Build Common Ground

mobilsemainIn 2015, before the General Election, Migrants Organise worked with community organisations from across the world – Latin Americans, who felt invisible and underrepresented; Kenyans in West London, anxious about the opportunities for their young people; East and North African women, struggling to empower themselves following domestic violence and isolation; Ukrainians who were trying to support friends and family as conflict unfolded at home; domestic workers who were organising in the few hours they had spare on a Sunday – and many more. These diverse groups had diverse interests. Yet, we brought them together and we found common ground: shared experiences of powerlessness, xenophobia and hostility from the press and government, and tireless, thankless organising within communities. We knew that the 2015 election could change our situation, if we organised together. Some communities – Polish and Latin American – had been registering their members to vote to ensure they were a visible, powerful forces in the election. They taught other groups the lessons they had learnt. Collectively, we registered thousands of people to vote.

We knew that our power as voters was with our MPs. We supported migrant community groups in each constituency to meet, plan and organise together. Migrant groups came around the same table to meet with prospective parliamentary candidates and organise hustings. In meetings, community leaders secured concrete commitments on issues that mattered to their communities, a recognition of their power and relationship with their elected representative. More importantly, they began to understand what connected them to other migrant communities in the same area – sometimes shared challenges around buildings; sometimes shared frustrations about working with the local authority; sometimes shared anxiety about a particular local issue – gang violence, housing, racism. In every area, one issue connected migrant communities and brought each group allies in their struggles. From diverse starting points these groups have gone on to build alliances of strength in their local areas. Now, they act together for change and organise from a position of strength.

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…

MRCF Launches Report on Earned Citizenship and Volunteering

MRCF Launches Report on Earned Citizenship and Volunteering

Jul 14 2010

Migrants  and refugees hardly ever get to have a say on any policy that directly affects them. And so was the case…