#BridgesNotWalls Banner Drop – Views from around the world

The Leveller hears people’s concerns and commitments to resist hate from across the UK and worldwide on inauguration day.

January 20. 2017

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#BridgesNotWalls Banner Drop – Views from around the world

The Leveller hears people’s concerns and commitments to resist hate from across the UK and worldwide on inauguration day.

Oslo, Norway

“I am an American living in Oslo, Norway and I am completely against everything Trump has said and done throughout his campaign and as the president-elect. I will be marching in Oslo on Saturday in the Woman’s March effort here. I disagree with every fiber of my being with what Trump stands for (xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, bigotry, nepotism, anti-free-speech, closing of borders, dismantling Obama’s healthcare, anti-NATO stance, registering Muslims, narcissism, whopping conflicts of interest, Putin bromance… the list goes on and on). Now is the time for those who disagree with Trump’s platform to get out and get active. Now is the time for the responsible press to go to work reporting truth and holding Trump accountable for his actions and words. I am happy that there are many out there who are boycotting this inauguration as a form of protest.” – Sandra

Brighton, UK

“For us, joining in with the banner drop means being part of a movement that is about finding strength in unity and refusing to be divided by the powerful. Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (Brighton) was formed partly to resist attempts by opportunistic right-wing politicians to pit different marginalised groups such as queers and migrants against one another, and with people like Trump taking office this is now more important than ever. Trump’s campaign showed absolute contempt for migrants, Muslims, Mexicans, women, disabled people and the earth’s climate, and many people are rightfully afraid that his presidency will be similar. It’s important for anyone who opposes this to stand up and be counted, and for us to build a movement that brings all our struggles together in opposition to the rise of the far-right.” – Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants

Barnes Bridge, London, UK

“Two of us agreed that we would like to make a stand against the rise of far right politics on the day of Trump’s inauguration, but we did not want to travel into London for the bridge dressing event, so we thought we would organise our own, on the local bridge which joins our two communities. It is about solidarity, about acting on our beliefs. Both of us have been involved with refugee education and support of refugees for more than twenty years. We are concerned about the rise of Islamaphobia, homophobia and xenophobia. We are facing the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War. We are concerned that refugees and migrants are being scapegoated for failures in our own political systems.” – Stephanie

Blackfriars Bridge, London, UK

“What I found at my first #BridgesNotWalls meeting was a core of dedicated people from a wide range of backgrounds, campaigning for everything from LGBTQ rights and migrants’ rights to climate change, with whom I was excited to work and from whom I wanted to learn. I joined up with this because I wanted to try and reach out beyond my particular campaigning ghetto and connect with the champions of other causes who were as exercised about the rise of far-right populism as I was. As such, dropping the banner for me is both an end and a beginning; it’s the culmination of an intense two weeks where I’ve linked myself into a cause larger than myself with people whom I admire intensely and have learned to trust, and also the springboard to what I hope will be a renewed resolve on my part to keep on campaigning with my new skills and allies.” – Timothy

Bradford, UK

“I am regional organiser for Migrants Organise. The original banner drop organisers are peers I spent time with whilst working for the Racial Justice Network. Trump is all for division, hate, individualism and we are all for unity, love, solidarity and connections between individuals and communities. We have seen a lot of extreme views and comments almost become everyday language. Trump’s views on Muslims, women, people of different ethnic to himself are troubling and same goes for people he has appointed in his government. The future might be uncertain but it’s good to start seeing who has each other’s back too.” – Penny

 Liverpool, UK

“After reading an article in The Guardian about the Bridges Not Walls movement, I used their website to send out a call for a banner drop in my area. A lot of people reached out to me, from all over Merseyside and even as far as Manchester. Many events of 2016 make the world look like an increasingly divisive place. In times of uncertainty, many people’s instinct is to withdraw into their shell, or seek safety in the familiar. However, we have heard time and time again that evil triumphs easily when good people do nothing. By standing together with a message of hope, we want to show that we will not stay silent and let hatred and division rule the day.” – Maria

Rome, Italy

“Our organization is called American Expats for Positive Change. AEPC was formed as a reaction to the election because as expats, we often feel that our voices aren’t heard. We wanted to create a group that could initiate positive change in our home country and our country of residence. We started our building bridges not walls initiative in November, collecting post-it notes on bridges in Rome. We found out about bridgesnotwalls.uk about 2 weeks ago and decided to join. We have about 20 people directly involved in the city wide banner drops. It’s an opportunity to promote messages of inclusion and kindness. To us, this is not specifically an anti-Trump event, but a pro-inclusion, pro-diversity, pro-kindness, pro-respect, pro-love event.” – Tanya

Chester, UK

“Trump’s election is very worrying. He threatens the fight against climate change, looks intent on supporting the Israeli Government’s continued expansion into Palestinian territory, is set to start a trade war with China, and destabilise NATO. His hostility to Muslims, and to Mexican immigrants, and his sexism and misogyny set a terrible tone for the world. His vice president is clearly an opponent of LGBT rights. His aggressive nationalism and lack of compassion, all pose a threat to not just the USA, but to the world. He talks about draining the political swamp, but is intent on filling it with dodgy big business men. Like many others I want to send a message of solidarity to those in the USA who are opposing almost everything he stands for. We think small protests send out big ripples and give others confidence, showing we can act together.  It is as much about building our own movement against the sort of right-wing views held by Trump, and held by many in the UK.” – Ray

 Rothbury, UK

“I recently moved from Newcastle to a small village in Northumberland, Rothbury. I decided to organise a banner drop here myself, even though I don’t know many people here yet and it will be a small event! I’ve advertised with a Facebook event and posters, and made the banner myself from a bedsheet and acrylic paint. I’ve done this as I feel very strongly about the rise of right wing populism around the world. It seems the lessons of history have been forgotten and we are in a very frightening place right now. I also run a Facebook page called Newcastle upon Tyne boycotts the sun. I do this to spread the word about corrupt and biased media, which in themselves have greatly contributed to today’s climate of hate and intolerance.” – Sarah

Wellingborough, UK

“I am a member of a group called Independent Socialists in Wellingborough. There was a great deal of support for the action as I think people are feeling pretty low currently and this provides an opportunity to do something to protest about a range of things: Trump, Brexit, racism, refugee crisis. It’s a very important symbol of our unity in opposition to those forces that want to divide humanity in a variety of ways and put barriers, walls, fences, and controls to human interaction and movement. It’s a symbol of hope in the context of increasing fears and insecurity. Trump’s inauguration represents a call for collective action: to challenge our complacency and for us to pledge to do more to stop things getting any worse. It’s a wake-up call to the world.” – Paul

Macclesfield, UK

“The plan came about because I got a text from a friend on Monday saying ‘look at Bridges Not Walls website, there’s a big gap south of Manchester. Should we do something?’ So I said ‘yes of course :-)’ … The two of us painted the banner in my garage and emailed around friends to get enough folk to come along so we could drop and fix the banner safely. Around 15 people came in the end which was brilliant. Cars and vans were tooting support. For us the banner drop is a way of making ourselves physically visible – to those who agree with us, and those who don’t. Campaigns like this flash a real signal of hope for those who might think that no-one else is noticing this stuff. And they show everyone that we will keep opposing a drift to the right. The bigotries and exclusions of Trump, Farage, and increasingly of May must not become received opinion. We will continue to #standupforlove.” – Ailsa

Bakewell, Derbyshire, UK

“I saw an article about the Bridges not Walls movement in the Guardian and found it inspiring and wanted to join in. I am a Quaker and I suggested it to my local Quaker meeting. I want to stand up against racism, the rise in racism in Britain since the Brexit referendum, the nastiness of current UK politics as well as politics worldwide, and the inhumane unwillingness of the UK government to take in refugees. They lack compassion. Racism and the shunning of migrants and refugees are my main concerns. That is what the “walls” mean to me. I am shocked that Trump has been elected. He is a liar, right wing, unprincipled, not fit for the role, and a danger to the stability of the world. I abhor his politics, and those of the people he has surrounded himself with.” – Sue

Hackney, London, UK

“We have to stand up for our values and long-won rights. For too long, politics has been dominated by bad-faith campaigns. It’s not just Trump, we saw it with Brexit and Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign here in London. Importantly, we need to stop using scapegoats and pandering to racism and acknowledge the structural inequality and discrimination that currently exist within our society.” – Sally

“Donald Trump stands against building bridges between people and communities and instead wants to build walls. His divisive rhetoric and scapegoating of migrants is an insult to the diversity of Hackney and to people all over the world.” – Marloes

Glasgow, Scotland

“Myself and 2 friends are in the middle of a 21-day kindness challenge so I was partly motivated to do this by that. We are committing a deliberate act of kindness every day for 21 days and I thought, making a banner would be a kind thing to do on the day Trump goes in. I am appalled and dismayed by the fact that Trump is becoming president. It is the exact opposite to my hopes for the world. His policies and style of leading seem to be based on inciting anger in people, in order to get what he thinks is best. I am worried about the rise of the far right around the world and the ability of propaganda to persuade disenfranchised people that anger and division is the way to get things done.” – Anna

Chepstow, UK

“My motivation is to remind people we are facing a period of increasing uncertainty and the rise of hate crime as Trump takes over the White House and Brexit sets the agenda in the UK. Trump’s inauguration is an opportunity for all those who oppose all he stands for to be heard and to challenge everything he does right from the first day of his presidency. It is the catalyst for action not the cause for hand wringing.” – Adrian

Bridgetown, Totnes, UK

“We are a group of older women and we meet regularly to share our concerns for the world and our wish to contribute to a wiser and kinder society that nurtures people and planet. When we heard of the banner drop happening all over the world on Trump’s Inauguration Day we decided to be part of it, to put our energies into expressing our commitment to a caring and inclusive society. I think the world is at a pivotal point. We could move towards spiraling climate change, rejection of refugees and minorities, division of all kinds, or we could wake up to working together for a saner world. This small act of standing up for bridges not walls is a symbolic act of solidarity and to say No to the potentially disastrous consequences of a Trump presidency.” – Maggie

Reading, UK

“Two of us are organising the drop with permission from the University. We found the website “bridgesnotwalls” and were spurred on to do something positive and inclusive. We are concerned about the rise of xenophobia and intolerance in the world right now. The banner drop means that we physically stand together with neighbours and strangers to say no to hate. There is a lot of hateful speech on Twitter and other social media platforms and we need to stand our ground in real space for a positive message of tolerance. Trump’s inauguration is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean the end of the world. We have to stand up to the hateful messages that he puts out there.” – Andrew

Bristol, UK

The messages of division and fear that have come with Brexit, and then Trump has been something that has massively impacted my desire to be more politically active, to show my three young kids that there is a way they can have a say in the world and express the message of Peace and Hope in times that feel very dark and hopeless. The Banner drop is a small gesture, but it was something my kids could be involved in and facilitate some conversation about Trump, and how important it is for them welcome all people. I believe I cannot remain silent in the face of division and fear, where others, especially in my own community are feeling scared and unwelcome. Even a small gesture of welcome and hope can go a long way. Trump has given a  platform and voice to fear, division and lies… and to remain silent in the face of this growing, hateful voice is something I am not prepared to do.” – Rae



Image: Bridges Not Walls

January 20. 2017