Supporting the rights of refugees in the UK and abroad

Threads Radio highlights issues facing refugee communities

Parwana Amiri
Credit: Judith Buthe

By Luke Thurnham, Head of outreach, Threads Radio

Last month, we hosted activists, experts and survivors, from the
frontline of the refugee crisis in the UK and abroad, as part of our ongoing mission to platform important causes and to amplify the voices of the marginalised. From front rooms to phone calls throughout London and overseas, we heard the most up-to-date and honest accounts of what being a refugee is truly like.

Tottenham is incredibly diverse. This community has a long and proud history of accepting displaced people – from those fleeing war in revolutionary France to those fleeing conflict today – Tottenham has housed them all.

Immigration enforcement vans have become a familiar sight to some who live here and increasingly the social services that people all over the country rely on are becoming front lines in this crisis. The status of those people the government chooses to ‘other’, through no fault of their own, should worry us all and embolden us to offer our solidarity.

At Threads Radio, we recognise the enormous contribution that people from around the world have made to life here in the UK. Without them we wouldn’t have so much of what we love and cherish – including them.

Laura Nyahuye
Credit: Dan Waorth

Refugee week (15th–21st June) presented another opportunity for us to do somegood for others. We intended to raise awareness of the plight of refugees in both the UK and abroad throughout seven days of programming. We looked at a broad range of topics including: political activism; adaptation to COVID-19, and legal injustices. We spoke to committed and inclusive groups, and individuals, such as Haringey Anti-Raids (community focused legal rights support), Injera Club (cultural support for East African young people living alone), May Project Gardens (innovative and nature focused project), and Gulwali Passarlay, the author of The Lightless Sky, which describes his harrowing journey from Afghanistan to the UK.

We also ran a fundraiser to help provide further impetus to those doing the amazing work supporting refugees. We aimed to raise £500 pounds over the week to be split between several organisations that have kindly given their time and experience to our platform: Best Foot Music; Collective Aid Org; Humans for Rights Network; Refugee Solidarity Summit and Trust for London.

All these organisations are doing really important work fighting the dehumanisation of people facing huge adversity, providing practical and emotional support and sharing great music. We hope the funds raised will help support them, allowing the continuation of their important work.

Maddie Harris
Credit: Steph Champion

This country owes an incalculable amount to the rest of the world, not just because of its still unresolved legacy of colonialism. Raising awareness is one thing, and at Threads we accept we have a responsibility to do more to help tackle the systemic racism in society.

In addition to informing people who already have an interest in the rights of refugees and our responsibilities to them, we also hoped to counter some of the virulent anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and general anti ‘other’ attitudes prevalent in large sections of the UK media.

With a government and a political climate that is increasingly unpredictable and discriminatory towards a wide range of social groups, platforms like ours need to be progressively supportive and ensure we
highlight these issues. That being said, it’s just as important to celebrate the incredibly diverse and multifaceted way of life we enjoy here – particularly in Tottenham – thanks to people who’ve chosen to stay and make it their home.

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