We stand with refugees

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Refugee: a person who flees for refuge or safety
Refuge: a place or situation providing safety or shelter.

To take refuge: to seek safety or comfort in being safe
Home: a place one lives, a place one can take refuge

20th June is World Refugee Day; this week is Refugee week.

Never has it been more important to stop and reflect for a moment on the importance of standing up with and up for refugees as they continue to be marginalized, demonized and described in the British mainstream media as ‘cockroaches’. Events in the UK over the past few months highlight only more so how important it is for people to come together and question the narratives being created around who matters and who deserves.

Central to our understanding of sustainability at CSF is that all lives matter. We stand with all refugees, and commemorate and celebrate their strength, courage and perseverance. CSF does this explicitly, through the work being done by both Helen Storey and Lucy Orta and implicitly through valuing nurture, care and respect.

According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.

To escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters…

Last week I watched people fleeing their places of refuge as fire engulfed the Grenfell Tower. Have decisions made by the British Government created more refugees? Through the creation of the narrative of the deserving and the undeserving and the demonization of the poor, through the silencing of marginalized voices, the confounding of the words ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’, the priority of profit over people, through deregulation and vested interests. Through neglect, people were fleeing their refuge. Places that despite the silencing of concerns over safety, were home.

Do we question enough our preconceptions of what a refugee is? Do we look closely at the decisions our government makes, decisions in our name?

Today is a chance for CSF to show support for families around the world who have been forced to flee. We support them with words but also through actions. Through using fashion, education and art and design to raise awareness, tell their stories and keep the spotlight on them as Dress for Our Time and the Antarctica World Passport do. To bring education, skills and opportunities to places where there are none, which Za’atari Wisdom hopes to do. To give our time, emotion, and engaged thought as we can all can and strive to do.

#standwithrefugees