ARTISTS, poets, musicians and businessmen and women are joining together for the One Day Without Us campaign on Monday, February 20. The day of action will demonstrate just how much migrants contribute to society.

Activities are planned across Edinburgh and groups have recently come together in Glasgow, Inverness and Dumfries and Galloway, with interest from as far north as Gairloch in the Highlands.

The National Union of Students is organising a walkout across the UK at 11am while the Stop Trump campaign is to support the events.

One Day Without Us is a response to the growing racist and xenophobic discourse that has followed the EU referendum and the consequent rise in both verbal and physical attacks on migrants.

The national day of action, which coincides with the UN day of social justice, is planned as an act of solidarity with migrants living, working and studying in the UK. It seeks to celebrate the contributions of migrants, stand up for their rights and reject all politics of division and hate.


CO-ORDINATING activity in Edinburgh is veterinarian Dr Marissa Robson, who said she joined the campaign because her mother was a Thai migrant.

“She was a housewife and her contribution to the UK was two professional children,” said Robson.

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“I was concerned watching the media and politicians scapegoat the new wave of migrants and, on behalf of the migrant that made me, I wanted to show my support for migrant mothers whose children feel British and will contribute to the UK, as we have.

“I wanted to challenge the one-sided dialogue about immigrants and help to create a day where the contributions of migrants past and present are recognised and celebrated nationally.”

“I am really pleased that Imam Yahya Barry from the Edinburgh Central Mosque will speak at our event. It is really important to me that the British ethnic minority communities are involved, because the rise in hate crime post-referendum wasn’t just directed at migrants.”


EDINBURGH-BASED Uta Rosenbrock is among one of the local business people supporting One Day Without Us and is closing her shop for the day. She sells ethically sourced products from all over the world and has been in the business for 17 years, since her son was a baby.

“Permanent residency is very difficult for self-employed people, especially single mums,” she said. “My son’s father is Scottish, but because we were not married my son is German, like me.

“I have, over the years, employed women from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Spain and of course Scotland.

“I have taken pride in being part of a vibrant, multicultural community in Edinburgh, volunteering for local projects.

“Never have I questioned my right to be here, all my adult and working life has been in Scotland. Now, suddenly, all of that is in question.

“I will close my shop on February 20 in solidarity. I want the community to see what they stand to lose if we all leave and I want to spread awareness of who we are and what we contribute.”


SCOTLAND-BASED musicians Inge Thomson, Martin Green, Lau, Andrew Howie and Jo Whitby of Laurence Made Me Cry were amongst the first in a diverse collection of artists to offer their music and poetry to the One Day Without Us digital download album, which is helping to raise funds and awareness of the campaign.

Award-winning composer Green has contributed Laws Of Motion penned by Karine Polwart, a song from his latest collaborative project Flit.

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“Flit is a project inspired by people’s stories of moving round the world,” he said. “Of all the things we discovered through talking to people the single most obvious point to us at the end was that all animals have always moved around, and humans are no different.”

In Edinburgh, the campaign is asking 100 businesses to show their support through badges, celebrations and an international cake competition.

Organisers are also inviting the public to “meet the migrant” from 1.30pm at the Mound. Organisations such as The Wellcome Trust and Stand Up To Racism Scotland who work with migrants have been invited to speak and promote their community work.

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Others supporting the day include Edinburgh Welcoming Association, Multi-cultural Family Base, Migrant Voice, Iranian Cultural Society, Polish Cultural Festival Society, Fruitmarket Gallery, Podemos Edinburgh, Migrants in Edinburgh and Edinburgh Vet School.

At 5.30pm at the Mound there will be a candlelit gathering with contributions from poets and musicians.


ONE of the organisers is singer-songwriter Rachel Taylor-Beales, whose aim is to get as many people involved as possible.

“We are non-partisan and invite anyone who wants to become involved to be as creative as they can be and invent their own way of participating in One Day Without Us,” she said.

The National:

“We want to see a range of activities unfold in locations across the UK throughout the whole day that reflects the immense diversity and richness of migrants’ contribution to society. We also invite everyone who supports us to take part in our unifying social media action at 1pm on February 20 by linking arms and or taking a selfie photograph with a message of support and posting it on any social media platforms they have using the hashtag #1DayWithoutUs.”

In Glasgow there will be a rally in the city centre from 12 noon until 2pm, while in Dumfries the Stove Café is hosting an evening’s celebration of immigration and immigrants.

For more information about the day and to register support visit the website, Facebook, or Twitter.

The album can be downloaded on Bandcamp.