Solidarity Knows No Borders National Summit 2023 

Solidarity Knows No Borders (SKNB) is a community of migrant organisations, groups and individuals, working in solidarity, to end hostility and racism against migrants and refugees.
Together we are demanding dignity and justice for all.

On Friday 29th and Saturday 30th of September 2023, over 120 organisers came together – from across campaigns, groups, collectives and organisations- in London to build and nourish our movement of resistance and care,  to connect our struggles and campaigns, and to imagine the world we want to win together.  

The Solidarity Knows No Borders (SKNB) 2023 National Summit was a powerful collective space to be together in community and build towards a shared vision of liberation and migrant justice.

Solidarity Knows No Borders is more than a call to action—it’s a shared commitment. A commitment to working together at the grassroots to meet the needs of our neighbours and a commitment to coming together to imagine better futures for all. 

This year, the Summit was carefully put together by the ‘SKNB Planning Committee’ – made up of SKNB community members including Women Seeking Asylum Together Manchester, Migrants in Culture, Hastings Refugee Buddy Project, Migrants Organise and others.

The strength of Solidarity Knows No Borders is that it acknowledges that we are stronger united. The movement gathers together a wide range of organisers working on different issues – from organising to end the hostile environment in public services to demanding dignity in housing- and connects them into a broader struggle and collective principles. It was important that this was reflected in the planning process of the Summit. 

Since the last National Summit in 2021, we have faced huge challenges – two new hostile acts of parliament and an unrelenting corporate and state machine criminalising us by all means at their disposal. We have also witnessed the rise of new right-wing media channels that seek to dehumanise us.

But, as a community,  we have come together to fight this hostile environment at every step of the way. We have stood united against Rwanda deportation flights, against fascist attacks on accommodations for people seeking protection, and against NHS charging. Our resilience and people power have grown and together we have created new communities of care.

It was against this backdrop that we collectively decided that the 2023 National Summit would be markedly different to the summits of previous years – where action planning took priority- and would give priority to organisers being together in the same space in order to build and strengthen organising relationships that will sustain us for the long road towards the world we want to win. After all, our people are our power. 

The Summit of 2023 was all about: 

Building, Sustaining and Growing the SKNB Community of Care and Resistance

Over the course of the two days, there was lots of time for radical listening and connecting over coffee, tea and nourishing food. This included time for intentional one-to-one organising conversations, for walks together, for dancing, time for joy and time for quietness. 

Sharing Knowledge, Resources and Mapping the Network 

A focus on decentralised collective learning through breakout sessions delivered by members of the SKNB community and beyond. Our sessions focused on:

How to Resist An Immigration Raid (learning ways to protect our communities with West London Resistance Collective); Workplace Rights (with Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, IWGB) ; Nothing About us Without Us (exploring how campaigns around individual can bring together a collective movement for justice with the Justice for Omisha campaign, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, South London Refugee Association, Patients Not Passports and Medact); Mapping Community Infrastructures of care (with Helen Brewer); Media and the Hostile Environment (building a media toolkit together with with Migrants Organise); Climate Justice is Migrant Justice (exploring the intersections between climate and migrant justice with the Climate Justice Coalition, No Borders in Climate Justice, Tipping Point and War on Want); Science Fiction Writing (unleashing our imagination to visualise a better world with Migrants in Culture, Saturday School); and Embodied Leadership (a new approach to leadership with Healing Justice London).

There was also the chance for people organising around similar issues to connect and learn from each other using a visual mapping created by Migrants in Culture. 

We also mapped our shared history and created a timeline of SKNB together! This gave us an opportunity to reflect upon the shared history of the movement and have older and newer members of the community to visualise their work and role in building the movement. Importantly it prompted us to look to the future and ask how do we grow the movement. As we say in SKNB: each one bring one.

Solidarity Knows No Borders shared timeline

Imagining, Dreaming, Planning & Action

We also made the time and space to dream of the world we want to win. To collectivise and discuss how we build and sustain alternative ecosystems and communities that thrive and take care of each other. We have the solutions and resources within our communities. 

Visual notetaking, photography and film-making were all a crucial part of the Solidarity Knows No Borders National Summit – capturing moments and visualising the movement for migrant justice.

After two days with this beautiful community of organisers and resistors, the Migrants Organise team left feeling nourished, hopeful and steadfast in the belief that our strength comes from decentralisation and acting in solidarity with each other.

Find out more about Solidarity Knows No Borders.

All photos used in this post were taken by: Sophie le Roux //