The important message behind #1DayWithoutUs: why we’re better together

If someone asked you today, ‘Where are you from?’, what would your answer be? There’s a chance that you will have left the country you grew up in and have made yourself a new home in a different district or completely different country altogether. If you’ve moved to another country, is that now your home? Do you identify with the people you now live amongst? If so, to answer that you’re from the country you identified with growing up might no longer apply.

Today we celebrate the UN World Day of Social Justice, but it’s also a day that calls for a united front in a social movement, a national day of action, represented by the hashtag #1DayWithoutUs. This is why it should be important to all of us.

To share with you my own story, technically my passport will tell you I’m a British citizen. I was born with the rights to live and work in the UK, so that makes me a native British citizen right? If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll also know that I was actually born and raised in Hong Kong. I only arrived in the UK 9 years ago for postgraduate studies. According to my ID, I’m British and based on my accent I’m Scottish, but since I wasn’t born here and haven’t been living in this country, does that make me any less deserving to be here?

Think about everyone you grew up with: neighbours, friends, the friendly people you meet on the streets or in the shops. People have been migrating from one country to another for a variety of reasons and it’s not uncommon to find people come from different parts of the world living in the same building, or even around the corner. We learn more from each other and present a more united front by showing compassion and working together rather than listening to political scaremongering that we’re seeing a lot of in the news these days.

Each person who lives here works, studies and contributes to a greater society. Like everyone else I know who’ve moved here, we pay our taxes, contribute to National Insurance, support our local economy and buy from local shops as much as possible to support Scottish businesses and have made this our city too. I’ve made Edinburgh my home and in building my blog, I’ve been promoting local scenes, restaurants and events which may be of interest to visitors. I’ve also been involved in various fitness classes through the council and local business owners and helped raise funds for various charitable activities. Why should the country a person was born in or the passport they hold mean they are less deserving of being able to live in this country?

Each person brings a different perspective, understanding and knowledge to the table based on their own experiences. Together, we can bring fresh ideas to the table and allow each country to thrive. We need co-operation between the people in it, as well as between countries, to forge stronger relationships and to maintain peace. Achievements aren’t reached through wars; non-violent and peaceful activism gains results and co-operating brings unity.

If the UK were to leave the EU and British citizens removed from EU countries, how would that affect us? If this happened to more countries around the world and this was the rhetoric we were promoting, what kind of message does that convey?

We need to work together to show that our contributions to our society and local area is more than our nationality. It should be based on the person’s choice to live and work in a country because of what it brings and how they can support it. The majority of our workforce and population is a combination of people from all walks of life and from different cultural backgrounds. We should respect that each has built a life here and maintain that relationship instead of breaking more bridges between communities.

To find out more and to support local #OneDayWithoutUs events, visit the One Day Without Us page here.

If you’d like to share your story of how you’ve moved to a completely different country from where you were raised, I’d like to hear your story and if you’d also like to share, leave your thoughts on the current political situation between the UK/EU and the US in the comments below. Please remember to be respectful with our views, any discriminatory or offensive comments will be removed.

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2 thoughts on “The important message behind #1DayWithoutUs: why we’re better together

  1. Beautifully expressed Michelle, and so important. I was born in the UK, but my grandmother was Croatian. She met my Grandpa during the war on Malta and they married a few weeks later, and she moved to the UK. So I too am part immigrant, and if you look far back enough, nearly everyone who considers themselves to be entirely “British” will discover the same. It makes me so incredibly sad to think that some people could value certain people over others solely by virtue of where they were born or their nationality. I can absolutely appreciate national pride, in our countryside, our pretty towns, our traditions, our food, but to take it as far as to say that British nationals are superior to others…well, it’s a slippery path to an awful place, and I really hope the recent slide that seems to have occurred here and in other European countries and the US halts asap.

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