Yesterday I took part in the ‘We Are Luton’ march. Faith groups, the labour movement and Black communities came together to celebrate the diversity of Luton and reject the hatred and division of the English Defence League.
The beginning of the day saw us driving in to Luton and seeing a large “Welcome to Luton – the Birthplace of the EDL” banner draped across a road. This was an obvious attempt to intimidate the local community and cultivate an environment of fear – which makes it so important that anti-racists united together.
Amongst the many speakers, Kanja Sesay, NUS Black Students’ Officer addressed the rally calling on unity against fascism and racist scapegoating. Weyman Bennett, joint-secretary of Unite Against Fascism condemned David Cameron for attacking multiculturalism. A speaker from the Mosque called on people to expose the lies and myths that the EDL spread and to challenge their twisted representations of Muslim communities. A local Labour councillor welcomed all anti-racists to her town and thanked people for their solidarity. The rally was also addressed by the two local MPs, the MEP and senior trade unionists.
I also spoke at the rally congratulating the participation of so many students and young people and brought the good news of NUS’ re-affiliation to Unite Against Fascism and our membership’s recognition that challenging racism and fascism is essential as the cuts start to bite.
The ‘We Are Luton’ demonstration outnumbered the English Defence League and was a vibrant celebration of our multicultural society. As in my speech on the day, I’ll end with this – we are one society, many cultures and we are here to stay.
Here are a few pictures that I wanted to share with you.