in gratitude: a few words
January 21st, 2017 - what an amazing day. It is cause for tremendous optimism that so many were galvanised to make a stand for equality, respect, justice right across the world.
In London we saw 100 000 people, children, women and men, come together to say 'enough is enough'. They came together to say they want change. They came together to say that they will no longer allow the politics of fear and division to run rife. Unity, solidarity, equality, hope were the calls for the day.
So many said that it was the best march they had ever attended, the most peaceful, the most hopeful, the most heartening. That it was right to be standing together to affirm the power of solidarity, equality and hope.
We were all reminded that we are stronger when we stand together.
There seemed to be everywhere a real commitment to this not being a one off event but for the day to be a springboard to a renewed commitment to all our shared responsibility for our social and political conversation.
It was wonderful to be clearing up after the event to see so many groups of young people gathered around Trafalgar Square, not wanting to leave, talking about the politics of the day, how they felt about it all, what they wanted to do about it.
It is our hope and belief that everyone who attended the march yesterday will now look to how they can act within their communities, to engage with volunteering, local politics, campaigning in any ways they are able and to make a difference.
Oxfam released a report recently saying our economics are 'broken'. We have heard the shocking fact that the 8 richest billionaires hold the same wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion. We have seen politicians using discriminatory language and practice to deflect attention from this central and dangerous economic reality. Extreme inequality makes lives precarious. When lives are precarious there is fear: how will I be able to afford my home, how will I be able to afford to look after my family, what will I do if my uncertain work contract comes to an end.
How wrong it is that this fear and anxiety is cynically exploited to promote division and conflict along lines of race, poverty, misogyny. To do so is to service and protect the most serious and entrenched economic inequality and to put those most vulnerable on the frontline of it's repercussions.
We would like to know now, who are our leaders serving? We want to see change. A billionaire can not bring unity to a society. A billionaire who denies climate change cannot protect our planet. A billionaire who is misogynist and racist can not serve unity.
The same is true here. Serious economic disparity must be addressed and we do not trust many of those in Westminster to do that job. How can these politicians serve these issues when so clearly their own social position and those of their associates would be impacted?
A great many organisations and groups working across so many areas of social struggle supported us in our action yesterday. Organisations and groups that are committed to working to alleviate the impact of the serious harm that inequality perpetuates. We would like to see overly centralised self-absorbed Westminster politicians to start listening to what these organisations have to tell them. We want to see grassroots up political change and we want our politicians to start listening, to start learning and to start acting.
We are no longer prepared to see division and hate stoked along lines of race, gender, class, poverty - and all the other fault lines of discrimination. We are no longer prepared to see discriminatory language and practice used as a political tool. We ask our politicians to remember the values of honesty, integrity, respect and equality. We ask them to take a serious look at how we can move forward together with respect and commitment.
Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday and made a stand together.