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'Without refugees, there is no Liverpool'

Words by Smiley Team

A community law centre in Liverpool brought charities together across the city to show solidarity with refugees.

Vauxhall Community Law & Information Centre services the local community, including offering free legal advice on issues such as welfare benefits, debt and housing, among others.

On 21 March, they led a ‘Together With Refugees’ march and event along with local charities that support Liverpool’s large and diverse refugee community. 

“The attempt to criminalise people seeking safety is not reflective of our city, we want people to show their support and stand together with refugees," says Elly Smith, Development Officer at Vauxhall Law Centre. 

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The evening began with a peaceful march which ended at St Bride’s Church where the Asylum Link choir performed and speakers spoke about the positive impact of migration on Liverpool and the wider country.  

“I think what we all understand is that we are stronger when we are together. We are stronger when we are diverse," said Ewan Roberts, centre manager at Asylum Link Merseyside, during his speech.

“I’m watching the people that I’ve seen come into this city over the last twenty years and make a difference to it, and they’re building a really thriving community.”

The event was dubbed ‘Show Your Heart’ by Vauxhall Law Centre and around 50 Liverpool residents showed up to take part, including several people who came to the city as migrants.

'You'll never walk alone'

“‘You will never walk alone’ the famous Liverpool football club anthem, and some of the most words that come to mind when that feeling of isolation sets in and you eventually find someone to reach out to in this beautiful city of ours," said speaker Onyeka, when sharing her experiences as a migrant. 

“We are people who have made difficult decisions to leave our homes, families and communities for sanctuary in a safe and welcoming place.”

Liverpool has a rich history of immigration, with around 25,000 migrants in the city before even taking generational immigration into account. The city also has Europe’s oldest Chinese community and is well known for its connection to Ireland, with around 2 million Irish immigrants having arrived in the 19th century.

Councillor Alan Gibbons said that it was remarkable and important that a city with intrinsic slavery links is now showing “universal human values” and strong solidarity with refugees. 

“Without refugees, there is no Liverpool. If somebody is fleeing from persecution, hunger, need, we owe them our solidarity," said Alan.

“Once you take the superficial element of our skin away, that’s the real human being. The beating heart, the passion, the thoughts, the dreams.”

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: You can find out more about Vauxhall Community Law & Information Centre, and how to support them here

VOLUNTEER: Make a difference in your community and volunteer with Refugee Action.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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