The Swindon group of the British Humanist Association (BHA) have given their backing to the Swindon Unites rally on 10 July that aims to bring together people from across Swindon in opposition to the recent outbreak of racially motivated verbal abuse and physical attacks across the country.
The rally starts at 2pm, Wharf Green, and will be a celebration and show of unity with all migrants, refugees and EU workers who are suffering increased rascism and xenophobia following the Brexit campaign.
In a statement following the historic referendum result, the national BHA said: “Outside of our political life, the UK has a great deal of healing to do. The referendum debate exposed and legitimated some of the ugliest aspects of British society, and we are deeply concerned by the spike in racist, xenophobic, and nationalistic incidents since Friday. We will work to challenge hate and repair divisions however we can.”
The Swindon Humanists formed in 2012 and their official Patron is Lord Joel Joffe, previously Nelson Mandela’s lawyer, and a long-term supporter of the BHA.
The group believes that as rational people with a focus on ethics and equality, we have a duty to work together with those of different viewpoints on life’s major questions to close the gap. In challenging times, the values we need most are those of reason and honesty, empathy and compassion, and respect for democracy.
Spokesperson Nikki Dancey said “The march and picnic planned on Sunday has been organised co-operatively by activists and groups from across Swindon, and Swindon Humanists are proud to join the growing number of groups participating in and supporting the event. So many people of all nationalities, colours and religions are now feeling more threatened, more worried and less welcome in the UK due to the recent EU vote.
“The dogged determination of some ‘leave’ campaigners to focus so negatively on immigration has encouraged a huge rise in hate crime and an ‘open-door’ to fascist far-right groups to exploit this mood. As Humanists, we want to assure all people in Swindon that we welcome the diversity, prosperity and culture that immigration brings and will not allow fascism, rascism, xenophobia or scape-goating to go unchallenged.”
The rally and picnic is open to all in Swindon who support its aims, migrants or non-migrants, with posters produced for the event in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Polish.