One Day without Us – Celebrating the Contribution of Migrants

One Day without Migrants leaflet

Today, events have been taking place around the UK for #1DayWithoutUs. It is being held to celebrate the contribution that UK migrants make to the UK. The event coincides with the House of Lords meeting today to debate the Article 50 Bill, where Peers will also consider the rights of three million EU citizens in the UK after Brexit.

According to the New Economics Foundation, the UK economy would take a £328m hit and daily GDP would fall by 4% if all non-British citizens if all migrant workers stayed at home for a day. But this isn’t just about finances, it’s also about families, friendships… and even food.

Family and Friends – what would we do without them?

EU citizens such as my friend Frederika Roberts, have been busily tweeting under the hashtags #BargainingChip and #RighttoStay. A businesswoman and mother of two tri-national, university-aged daughters, Frederika is Italian and German, grew up in Luxembourg has lived in the UK for over 25 years.

She says “I have lived here since 1990 and have built my entire adult life here. Even assuming I can stay after Brexit under whatever new rules will be in place, the system doesn’t seem able to cope with the required paperwork. It could grind to a halt with 3+ million people needing to get documents.

Without those documents, we could end up in limbo for years, effectively trapped in the UK for fear of being denied re-entry after holidays or business trips. And we could end up living here without access to the NHS.”

The last point is especially poignant. Both of Frederika’s daughters were born with congenital heart disease. Her eldest had open heart surgery at four years old and aged 12 had an out of hospital cardiac arrest. Her youngest was born with a rare heart disease; pulmonary atresia. Frederika was advised to terminate the pregnancy but chose not to. At just ten days old, their baby stopped breathing and her heart stopped. Amazingly, both girls made complete recoveries, and her eldest has recently started university.

Frederika and her family have been present at today’s Leeds rally and have been sharing their experiences via Social Media. Most appear to be positive, yet in one social media post, her elder daughter wrote: Handing out leaflets for today and just got reminded why I’m doing this. I gave a guy a leaflet, he went away, read it, came back shaking his head and said: “Sorry love, I don’t agree with it.”

Migrants & Freedom to Travel

EU migrants have contributed to healthcare, business, education and other sectors. As a daughter of immigrants with British citizenship, I see the value of broadening horizons. Having studied and worked in the EU (Germany) myself, I often remind others that we are equally as free to migrate to other EU countries for our own personal or professional reasons.

Here in the UK, I’ve worked in international teams and have built close friendships with people who are now worried about their future right to stay and what that means for their partners or children.

I and others that have lived in the EU have experienced goodwill towards British residents in the EU. The attitude in mainland Europe seems to be that migrants are simply citizens exercising their EU citizenship rights. I hope that our leaders will recognise the value of EU citizens too.

13 thoughts on “One Day without Us – Celebrating the Contribution of Migrants

  1. Helo Anj
    Firstly, congratulations for all you have done in your life. You are an example. We will be talking by skype next Wednesday and I would like to know what your work involves and what’s you like the most of it.


  2. Hello Anj, my name is Elisa Alfaro I am looking forward to talk to you tomorrow, it will be interesting to hear what you think about Mexico.

    See you tomorrow

  3. Hi Anj!
    I would like to know more about your recent work, and how it can help us in the way to live un a better city.
    See you tomorrow,

    Thank you!

  4. Hi Anj, It’s incredible to read about everything you’ve done in your life. I’m interested in hearing a bit more about the topic of women’s mutilation and how you dealt with it.

    Our classroom is very excited for our skype meeting tomorrow.

    Greetings from México.

  5. Hi Anj! First of all I admire everything you have done for other people, congratulations! We will be taking by skype tomorrow, I hope I learn a lot from you!
    I would like to hear what you enjoy most from what you are doing, and what has been the most difficult thing you have has to faced.
    Hope you are well! See you tomorrow!

  6. Hello Anj!

    My whole life I’ve been looking up to people who seek for the good of others, who’s main aim in life is to leave giant, good-intended prints in life… unfortunately they’ve always been kindof “celebrities” to me and the fact that we’re gonna be able to talk to you directly is amazing and unbelievable !!! I’m really looking forward to meet you and get know your story better. I hope you leave a seed planted in all our hearts and become an inspiration for us to give out to the world as much as you do.

    Love, Natalia.

  7. Hello Anj,
    Im very interested with your work,
    I would like to know more about what you do in your
    current work.

  8. I’m so excited to see you tomorrow, I’m very interested to hear more about everything you have been doing lately and what your future plans are.


  9. Hi Anj,

    It’s awesome all the work you have been doing in social media and all your training. It’s a good opportunity to know more about your work directly from you.

    Very excited about tomorrow, Congratulations for everything you’ve accomplished.

  10. Hi Anj,
    Congrats for being a person who really wants to make an important and huge change in the world. Continue inspiring people and never give up in your work.
    Victor A. López.

  11. Thanks for all your wonderful comments! I look forward to speaking to you all in a couple of hours! Anj 🙂

  12. Thanks for all your wonderful comments! I look forward to speaking to you all in a couple of hours! Anj 🙂

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