Islington Refugee Forum – in partnership with Islington Council – successfully held their Refugee Week Celebration last week at Islington Assembly Hall.
There were approximately 150 people in attendance, representing many different communities and cultures within Islington and the surrounding boroughs. The event was also attended by the Mayor of Islington, Islington council staff, and various keynote speakers – including Maurice Wren of the Refugee Council, Gary Younge of The Guardian, writer Annemarie Young, and Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz. Students from Drayton Park Primary school were presented with an award from the Mayor of Islington, for their wonderful arts, depicting refugees who come to England and who might feel lonely. The children decided to join their hands together to alleviate their sadness.
Refugee week this year was particularly unique, as the U.K. continues to enact Hostile Environment policies towards migrants, and limits the country’s intake of Syrian refugees through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. To show support for refugee/migrant communities here in London (and across the U.K.), IRF invited speakers to discuss these issues at our Refugee Day Celebration. One particularly moving performance was by a family of musicians who fled Syria, where they used to preform at the Damascus Opera House. By centering and celebrating the lives and experiences of London’s refugees, we can not only combat the hostile environment, but also remind those in office that Britain continues to welcome refugees with open arms.