Challenging bad news with good news
There has been so much sad and depressing news globally, nationally and in the Bristol Refugee community in the past weeks. The Referendum result that seeks to isolate the UK from our European partners - the five-fold rise in hate crime in our land since the vote. The attacks in Baghdad and in Nice which have claimed so many lives. Locally the tragedy of Kamal’s murder that might have been prevented had people listened to Kamal’s fears. Hurt, anger and disillusionment are understandable reactions to each of these events.
But that in the end only serves division, even violence. Let our anger and hurt become the well-spring of renewed commitment to building our city of Bristol as an authentic City of Sanctuary. Bristol voted Remain! Let us oppose hate crime by building relationships of care, of friendship and of strong practical support for our migrant community in general and our asylum and refugee community in particular. Every person is our sister or brother, every person is a sanctuary of human dignity. To be people of sanctuary is to be people of creative welcoming and valuing. We must challenge the ‘haters' - but not hate the ‘haters’. We will challenge them best by showing there is another way - that the deepest part of our humanity cries out with welcome and solidarity, with tears and compassion - made real in friendships and the courage to speak out for justice. We have so much Good News to share!
Rev Richard McKay - Chair of Bristol City of Sanctuary