Tuesday 17 August 2010

Bradford: messages of support for unity event

John McDonnell MP, comedian and activist Mark Thomas, leading black campaigners and national executive members from the Unite, PCS, TSSA and UCU unions have all given their support to the We are Bradford event to oppose the racist English Defence League on Saturday 28 August.

Here is a selection of our latest supporters:

John McDonnell MP, Mark Thomas comedian and activist, 1990 Trust, Zita Holbourne PCS national executive committee and joint chair, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac), Maddy Abbas Leeds Coalition Against war, Ruqayyah Collector, China Miéville author, The Peace Artistes Bradford street band, Steph Owens TSSA national executive committee (pc), Paul Williams PCS DfT group president, Aumayra Saleem MPACUK, Alf Filer Harrow College UCU, Foisal Uddin Muslim Defence League, Umit Yildiz UCU black members standing committee and Bradford College, Rima Amin FE womens representative, NUS Black Students Campaign, Gill George executive council, Unite the union, Martin Cornish senior steward, Camden Unison, The Carers Resource, Cllr Michael Lavalette, Preston City Council, Dave Gibson Barnsley UCU branch secretary and national executive committee member, Jehanzeb Khan antiracism campaigns officer, Warwick Students Union, Kieran Crowe assistant secretary, Barnet Trades Council (pc), Dave Owens PCS North West region DWP vice-chair and DWP GEC (pc), Joel Anderson branch secretary, CSSD UCU Branch.


We’ve also had words of encouragement for antiracists – and condemnation of the racist EDL – from many of those supporting the event. Long-time campaigner Mark Thomas told us:

I am happy to allow my name to be added to the statement. Good luck and well done.

Saira Azam, a member of the UK Youth Parliament, said:

The ‘We are Bradford’ celebration is a brilliant idea, it shows the EDL that Bradford is united and it’ll take more than a petty alcohol fueled EDL rally to break that.

Lee Jasper, political advisor to the 1990 Trust added:

The vast majority of people in Britain reject the poisonous and racist agenda of the EDL along with the BNP. Wherever they are allowed to march and campaign racist violence, intimidation and misery follow in their wake. Bradford has already been victimised by fascists and paid a heavy price. It is beyond important that the EDL should be stopped in its tracks.

This is my country, I am Black and I am British and no racist is going to take that away from me. Bradford is a great multicultural city full of wonderful people. Let’s ensure we defend them and by sheer force of numbers engulf the racial and religious hatred that the EDL seeks to promote.

Chris Howson, priest at Bradford’s City Mission, who earlier this month addressed a public meeting in the city to build the event, said:

When the EDL come – and they will come, despite any ban – we can’t let them take over our city. Say no to fascism, no to violence. They want violence. We have to a response.

Sarah Cartin, vice-chair of CND, speaking in a personal capacity, added:

Islamophobia must be challenged. We can’t let racists turn parts of our city into no-go areas. I can’t rest my hopes on Theresa May and a ban to solve our problems. We can’t sit back and allow the criminalisation of another generation of young people in Bradford. We need to go out… and organise a big inspiring event for 28 August.

Thanks to the many other individuals who have also given their backing.

What you can do

>> Read the statement and add your name or organisation to the supporters list
>> Download the national leaflet for the event
>> See the transport page for coaches to the event from around the country

Event details

The We are Bradford celebration of unity and our multicultural society takes place on Saturday 28 August. Assemble: 12 noon at Exchange Square, Drake Street, Bradford city centre. We will have details of musicians and speakers for the event soon.

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