"We are Wakefield" is an umbrella group established in 2013 at just a few weeks notice when it became known that the racist English Defence League were planning a rally in the city. Here is a statement of the initial aims of the group :
"We strongly oppose plans by the violent English Defence League (EDL) to hold a racist demonstration in Wakefield on Saturday 23rd November.
We urge everyone to unite together and build the largest possible peaceful celebration of multicultural Wakefield on Saturday 23rd November.
The biggest possible gathering will help show that the overwhelming majority of Wakefield people reject the violence, racism and division of the EDL.
We oppose the cynical and self-serving attempt by the EDL to bring racism and division to our multicultural city without a care for the damage they leave in their wake.
The EDL is a racist group dedicated to attacking Asian people and Muslims. Islamophobia - bigotry against Muslims - is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Its aim is to divide us by making scapegoats of one community.
Today they threaten Muslims. Tomorrow it could be Jewish people, Hindus, Sikhs, black people, lesbians and gay men, travellers or Eastern Europeans."
To add your name in support of this statement, E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
The group quickly attracted support from a range of groups across the social, religious and political spectrum. Its rally on the 23rd November was addessed by many speakers including Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, the Bishop of Pontefract, Wakefield Coucil leader Peter Box and a number of Trade Union representatives,
The EDL were supposedly mobilising their supporters from across Yorkshire. On the day they attracted supporters from such parts of Yorkshire as - er - Sunderland . . . and Portsmouth*! In spite of this, they could only number just over a hundred. The "We are Wakefield" rally outnumbered the EDL several times over.
We think this was a home win for Wakefield, but it does not mean the group will now just pack up and go home, thinking its job is done. Fascism will not go away if you just ignore it, and there is much work to be done to build stronger links between our communities, so this is just a start.
The organisation was mobilised again on 25th July 2015 when another far right group - the National Front this time - were granted permission to march in Wakefield. "We are Wakefield" hosted an event including speakers, performers, music, food stalls etc., to celebrate our diverse and tolerant city. Once again, the band of fascists were well outnumbered.
Since then, the group has concentrated its efforts on supporting refugees from the many wars around the world and is working closely with "Wakefield City of Sanctuary". On 19th November 2015 a fundraising gig "Rock for Refugees" was organised at Unity Works. The group is collecting desperately needed relief supplies to help refugees at the camps in northern France. At least four trips have already made to deliver this and more trips are planned. These supplies are being collected at Lightwaves leisure centre. Unfortunately the Red Shed is unable to help with this - we are seriously short of storage space.
More detail on Facebook fb.com/wearewakefieldyorkshire
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