Throughout September Liberal Democrats in Mid Sussex will be running a local campaign in support of refugees.
YouGov Polling from August 2020 suggests that almost half of Britons don't have sympathy for the people travelling across the Channel to seek asylum in the UK.
This does not reflect the kind, compassionate Britain we know and love. We know that refugees contribute so much to our country. More importantly, they have just as much right to safety, family, and opportunity as we do.
Hassocks District Councillor Benedict Dempsey who works in humanitarian aid says:
"I have met refugees in countries including Lebanon and Turkey. I think the UK should be doing far more to accommodate refugees, but I also know how complex the issue of international migration and asylum is.
"I accept that people have different opinions about the UK's approach to this issue. But what I can't accept is the use of dehumanising language to describe the people seeking sanctuary in our country. It seems, at times, we have lost our moral compass on this issue. We must all do whatever we can to improve the tone of this debate, and engender more compassion for people who need our help."
What we're doing as Councillors
At the next Mid Sussex District Council session on Wednesday 30th September we will be introducing a motion in support of asylum seekers and refugees. Our county councillor, Kirsty Lord, is also working to present a similar motion at WSCC in September.
We will seek cross-party support for a commitment that, no matter what your political opinion, it is our responsibility to treat these people with dignity, compassion and respect.
We hope that this will contribute a small degree of leadership - raising the quality of political debate about refugees and asylum seekers, and living up to our internationalist Liberal Democrat values.
What can you do?
Alongside political action, we want to make a difference by raising money, as part of the Red Cross' Miles for Refugees 2020.
You can donate to our fundraising, or even better sign up to take part yourself, at the link below.
If you want to take part, you pick a target distance that is symbolic of a journey a migrant may have to undertake, and clock up the miles in September. If you use referral code FRIEND25 you will get a 25% discount on the sign-up fee.
Once you have signed up, don't forget to print out this poster, fill in your name and send us a selfie of you holding the poster. We will use the selfies to create an online gallery of the Mid Sussex Lib Dem Team. Please send your selfies to email@example.com
As it says on the site, you can "walk, run, cycle or even skateboard - the choice is yours!" and ask your supporters to sponsor you in order to hit our goal.
If you can't take part, we would be very grateful for any donations to our fundraising. Whilst Ben has committed to cycling 550 miles in September, shorter distances are available, starting at twenty-two miles the length of an English Channel crossing.