Many people currently living in the UK will not be allowed to vote in the 2017 General Election. This includes all those without British citizenship – such as most EU nationals, asylum seekers and those with temporary leave to remain. Many of these face massive uncertainty about their status and rights in the UK.
As migrants, we must make our voices heard by creating activities, events and opportunities that build solidarity between different groups. In the past, communities excluded from elections have found creative ways to make sure their interests remain visible and have had a decisive impact in raising the issues that are important to them.
These are some ideas for the kinds of activities you can undertake:
Social media campaigns asking people to think of their fellow residents when they vote. This can include communities holding signs saying who they are, raising specific demands and calling for solidarity from wider society.
Initiate local conversations that provide a platform for different migrant groups to speak together and share their common challenges and experiences.
Help run registration drives for others: in the recent Presidential election in the United States, many undocumented immigrants supported US citizens to register and to vote, under the slogan ‘My Dream, Your Vote’.
Engage in creative actions: in the run up to the 2015 elections, a group called Justice for Domestic Workers dressed up as suffragettes outside Parliament, making a connection between their marginalisation and the exclusion of women from voting in the UK. The morning of the election itself is a particularly effective time to take action.
Support existing events: there will be events taking place around the elections that celebrate openness, inclusivity and diversity. Make sure your groups are present at these events, distributing your material, raising your voices and connecting with other communities.