Thursday, 24 April 2014

Many Flags - One Boston

Boston is a town that has made the headlines in recent months for having the highest
ratio of Eastern European migrants, something which parties like UKIP have pounced upon for their own political means: to generate a portrait of a divided town, split along lines of nationality where tensions are high. However, is this, or does this have to be the case?
On Good Friday residents from all parts of Boston came to Fenside, an area which as seen a surge in support for UKIP, to celebrate Easter together. It was quickly apparent that the myth that the different nationalities were not willing to share and celebrate together was false. Given the chance, and the opportunity it was clear that the local residents were very excited about the idea to have a glimpse into the way others live.
Over 300 people from around the town joined in with the traditional British Easter Bonnet Parade, Eastern European egg rolling and a beautiful German Easter Tree, decorated with eggs painted by the children (and a few overly eager HOPE not hate staff). One of the most stunning aspects were the tables upon tables laden with food from all around the world prepared by local residents to share their style of Spring cooking with everyone.
Whilst the event showcased the cultural diversity of the town, the main highlight was just how much common ground there was between each community. Although each culture and nationality had their own distinct style, there was an incredible degree of overlap. The music, food and games all had an element to which each person could relate; the egg rolling was a brand new game to the British, but many could see similarities between this and their own childhood games played in playgrounds across the country.
The aim of the event was to celebrate the diversity within Boston, but much more importantly it ended up showing that under the surface that there is not much difference between us all. The languages are different and the names change, but we all enjoy an Easter Egg!

Rolling the Easter Eggs......

This was summed up by Mandy Exley from Lincolnshire CVS who commented we “really have proved that together a wonderful event can be organized, and that community spirit really is thriving in Boston thanks to a dedicated team of residents.”
Hopefully the legacy of the Easter Together celebrations can live on and we can unite as a community to solve the town’s problems as one. Moving forward HOPE not hate will be working very closely alongside the TUC which the Boston Needs a Payrise campaign.
The perpetuating myth that plays straight into the hands of the far-right and UKIP is that these migrants have come to Boston and Lincolnshire to steal British jobs and undermine the local labour force. The reality is that many of these migrant works are suffering in appalling work and living conditions on very little pay at the hands of cruel and greedy gang masters.
This new project hopes to build links between the migrant and British communities to fight together, alongside the trade unions. If we can work together to prevent the exploitation of migrants not only will we be making their lives better off, but we will provide a level playing field for the local youth to gain meaningful employment. 

Together, with Hope, not hate, we all win.

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