Brexit Day

19 Oct

50 EFA students, teachers and supporters came together on Saturday 15th October to discuss Brexit, its impact on our communities and plan action in response.

Why did we organise Brexit Day?

Before the referendum EFA teachers spoke to their students about Brexit. We understood that many people were worried about Brexit and the future. Staff and trustees discussed and decided to join the Remain campaign. We felt that staying in the UK would be the best thing for the UK and especially for our students, many of whom are EU migrants.

Unfortunately for us, 52% of the electorate voted to leave the EU, as you know. We don’t know the exact reasons but it seems a lot of people were concerned about immigration. Certainly there has been a big increase in hate crime against migrants  (as well as other visible minority identities too). Many EFA students (and teachers) are really worries about this and so the teachers decided to organise a special workshop about Brexit to help everyone understand what is going on and stand up against racism and xenophobia.

What happened?

We met at Pembroke House in Walworth, south-east London. There were six EFA teachers there, a trustee, 4 volunteer supporters, 3 ESOL teachers from other places and around 40 students from at least 9 EFA classes.

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People brought some delicious food!

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Here is the plan of the day:

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First of all we shared our names and the classes or groups we belong to. We played two games to get to know each other better: “groups of” (people made groups with other people they shared something with eg. language, shoes, area of London etc. and “cross the circle” (people make eye contact with someone across the circle, give a wave and then change places exchanging a greeting in the middle).

Then we shared feelings about Brexit:

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and questions about Brexit:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/13BInVQp74OwHXuHkhbM4HA4CYs05HsraPzD0GD0HgeA/edit?usp=sharing

We then did a problem tree to discuss the causes and consequences of Brexit and action we can take. The idea was not necessarily action to stop Brexit but to make the UK a fair, inclusive and equal place in the wake of recent events. The roots represent causes, the leaves are consequences and the fruit are actions.

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We heard about existing campaigns from Dermot (Hope not Hate), Melanie (Action for ESOL and One Day Without Us) and Jen (Schools ABC).

We then developed our planned actions, for example:

There are plans to:
  • Make a video to celebrate migration
  • Find more information about Brexit and our rights from community organisations, and share it with friends in our classes
  • Join Against Borders for Children’s campaign: www.schoolsabc.net and tell 10 friends about the campaign.
  • Make more plans for workshops and meetings to oppose racism and educate people about migration and workers’ rights.

You can view more details of the plans, and the people who signed up to each action here: Brexit Action Plans 

We finished with a participatory evaluation – the spectrum line. People said they felt tired but generally agreed they learned a lot about Brexit and were motivated to take action. It was a little bit difficult to understand for some people but everyone helped out with their other languages. Also, it was a bit frustrating having so many questions unanswered but at the moment it is difficult to find answers anywhere. We will keep in touch when we find out more. Next steps:

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Thank you from the EFA team. We are very proud of everyone’s efforts and we will keep fighting 🙂

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