We wish to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those affected by the assault on the Polish man in Armley’s Alliance Street on Friday.
The 28-year-old man was seriously injured by up to 20 youths. This attack comes as this month commemorates the deaths near Skipton of seven Polish airmen who died in 1943 resisting the Nazi war machine.
There is an ongoing police investigation regarding the incident and the motives and details are still yet to fully emerge. Some of the media coverage of the incident has been sensationalist and irresponsible. We do not wish to add to the speculation surrounding the incident itself.
However, it is clear that following the incident, particularly in light of the media coverage, many of Leeds’s migrant community feel vulnerable and unwelcome, especially after the attacks in Harlow ending in the tragic death of Arkadiusz “Arek” Jozwik.
We, therefore, must make it absolutely clear that Leeds is a proud multicultural city and the home of many principled anti-racists. We saw this with last month’s magnificent Chapeltown Carnival. We see this with the More in Common event 10 days ago in commemoration of the tragic death of Jo Cox MP. We saw this with the recent Black Lives Matters rallies over the summer. We saw this with the amazing generosity shown to the many convoys to the Calais refugee camp. And we have seen this with the large delegations we take every year to the annual Stand up to Racism March in London on UN Anti-Racism Day.
But there is still work to be done. Sadly there has been a rise in reported hate crime in recent months and this must be challenged. The blame lies with the constant scapegoating of immigrants by politicians and the mainstream media. This is why we also have to challenge the hypocrisy of the establishment who peddle hate and then wring their hands when tragic events happen.
We say that migrants are not to blame for the problems we face in Leeds or nationally. Migrants did not cause the global financial crisis, migrants did not cut local government funding to Leeds and migrants did not cut funding to our NHS. These problems were caused by greedy financiers and corrupt politicians.
This is why we are rallying in Briggate (outside the Bodyshop) on Saturday, September 17, from noon in support of refugees and migrants. Please join us and support: refugees and migrants are welcome in Leeds.
Greg Mulholland MP
Steve Johnston, Leeds Trades Union Council
Jane Aitchison, President, Leeds Trades Union Council
Coun David Nagle
Coun Alison Lowe
Coun Kevin Richie
Coun Alice Smart
Coun Alex Sobel
Coun Patrick Davey
Asgar Khan, CWU Amal No 1 Branch, Political Officer
Dr Christian Hogsbjerg, University of Leeds
Kevin Pattison, CWU
Ros Campbell, UNITE
Sally Kincaid, Wakefield NUT Divisional Secretary
Victoria Jaquiss FRSA
Ian Stephenson, Yorkshire Regional Secretary NUT
Kate Mayer, Secretary, Leeds Stand Up to Racism
Laura Miles, UCU, retired
Louise Regan, Senior Vice President, NUT
Caroline Thistlethwaite, Unite Community Leeds
Brian Mulvey, Vice-President, Leeds Trades Union Council
Patrick Murphy, Leeds Divisional Secretary and NUT National Executive
Alex Claxton-Mayer, Students Stand up to Racism
John Davies, Secretary, Leeds Trades Council
Michael Blackwell, UNITE, retired
Peter Shaw, UNITE construction
Andy Stafford, UCU representative, University of Leeds
Stacey Booth, GMB and Armley resident
Patrick Hall, Leeds Trades Council
Remi Salisbury, UCU Leeds University
Grace Roberts, University of Leeds
Joe Hughes Bloc
Jamal and Karren El Kheir
Dr Sarah Waters, University of Leeds
Cecile De Cat
Dr Richard Hibbitt, University of Leeds
Toby Chelms, Youth Anthems
Andy Lee, Central Secretary, CWU
Mike Davies, Chairman, Alliance for Green Socialism
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