With the EU Referendum tomorrow and immigration becoming such a key part of the Leave Campaign, Refugee Week serves as a timely reminder that the rejection of those seen as ‘other’ is to miss out on the cultural enrichment that they bring with them in abundance.
Refugee Week is a nationwide celebration centred around World Refugee Day – every year on the 20th June – which aims to highlight and acknowledge the eclectic and exciting contributions of those who have sought sanctuary in the UK. Refugee Week aims to encourage positive encounters between sanctuary seekers and the general public, putting on events and shows in a wide variety of cities across the country.
Brighton and Hove, as part of the ‘City of Sanctuary’ network, are no exception and have gone above and beyond to showcase the staggering talent which refugees have brought to Brighton. Known in this particular network as ‘Sanctuary on Sea’, Brighton seems the perfect location for these sorts of celebrations. The city is famed for embracing difference and whole-hearted acceptance of those who may not be so readily accepted elsewhere. The Crossing Borders festival, for instance, is the crown jewel of Brighton’s Refugee Week celebrations.
The belief that refugees offer more than we know is the mantra of the Crossing Borders festival; over the course of this week, an array of performers who have come from their native countries (and literally crossed borders) in search of a safe haven will exhibit their talent to the Brighton public in a series of events throughout the city. There will be performances from artists and groups from countries such Congo, Cuba and Kurdistan to entertain people throughout the week.
As well as music and arts, there will also be equally important events which aim to enlighten people on the challenges which refugees and migrants face and why we should not be so quick to stigmatise or reject these people who have often lost their homes and livelihoods to the horrors of conflict.
So go out and celebrate Refugee Week, watch one of the intriguing and exciting performances on offer and be thankful that you’re part of one of the world’s true catalysts for acceptance: the city of Brighton.
For more information and to see what’s on at Crossing Borders, check out their website.