In Spite of It All – T4K Update August 2022

Hello everybody,

A very happy late summer to you all, and apologies for our failure to send any newsletters for a while. I think everyone’s time has been taken up by so many challenges this year that this has dropped off the to do list; we are only human after all. As Jacob is currently still on his travels on another continent, this newsletter is brought to you by T4K volunteer Susanne.

Global Justice

People on a protest holding a banner which reads 'No Human is Illegal'

As I was jotting down some notes, I tried to remember when I first met Jacob. We got chatting in 2016 at a public event on saving the NHS where I ran a stall with materials from Global Justice Now and I saw that he had the same flyers. So I found out about Brighton Migrant Solidarity. Global Justice Now had just started a campaign on migration in response to the big migrant crisis in 2015, arguing that free movement is vital in the battle for global justice. They analysed that this is not a migrant crisis, but a crisis of war, poverty, inequality and climate change. It made so much sense to me to connect the global political perspective with the local community action, and the great thing is that everyone can get involved in it.

The Power of Community

Being involved with T4K is one of the things that keeps me going in this increasingly insane reality. Since the last newsletter we have been confronted with so many new horrors including the Rwanda policy and the Nationality and Borders bill being signed into law. These callous designs by the UK government will ensure that even more people will be caught out by the nightmare that is the hostile environment. But we will fight back and continue with our mission – making homes for refugees. The simple act of reaching out a hand to other people, recognising our common humanity, is the very least we can do in response to those forced to leave home and seeking sanctuary in the City of Brighton & Hove. As Jacob has pointed out so many times, there is enough money and space, it just needs to be distributed equitably.

Still Making One Thousand

Cup of Kindness campaign logo

In 2020 we set out our plans to bring up our donor base to the magic number of 1000, and at the beginning of this year we revived these plans. It is slow progress. The counter on our website is showing 511 regular monthly donors for July 2022. If every one of them signed up a friend to give the price of a cup of coffee every month, then we could achieve our aim very quickly. As is clear from the developments I have mentioned earlier, there is likely to be a bigger need for the kind of support that we offer. We are very successful in something that in another, kinder world would perhaps not need to exist. But here we are in this current reality and we need the community to join our response to prevent homelessness of forced migrants and refugees who have no recourse to public funds.

Turning a Dream into Reality

Mortar board and scroll

We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign for one of our former residents. ‘Sara’ is an amazing young woman who has overcome enormous adversity to rebuild her life and care single-handedly for her three young children. After escaping an abusive relationship, she was put in touch with T4K, which arranged accommodation for her and her children with a local host family until they could be settled in their own flat. However, just when her dream of a career in nursing appears attainable, it could be derailed by harsh and rigid government rules. I’d be really grateful if you could read her story, support if you can and share as widely as possible.

In Spite of it All

Faced with these injustices I often think about what it means to be human, to maintain one’s empathy and sense of justice. More than a century ago a brilliant mind was studying these questions and how we, as human beings, can work to make a better world. In 1917 Rosa Luxemburg ended one of her letters from the prison to her friend Sonia Liebknecht with the words:

“Sonitschka, dearest, in spite of it all, be calm and cheerful. That’s life and that’s how one must take it: courageously, intrepidly and smilingly – in spite of all.”

In this letter, Rosa Luxemburg describes how during her evening walk in the prison yard she noticed buffaloes pulling a wagon with bloody shirts and shredded uniforms sent back from the front. Dana Mills wrote in her biography about Rosa Luxemburg:

“The whole crux of evil in the world is elucidated and enveloped in this moment of one woman staring into a buffalo’s eyes. Women, men and animals are pitted against each other, and taught that violence and bloodshed are necessarily the way of the world. Yet the essence of justice and empathy is carried in the eyes of the woman meeting the eyes of the animal. Resistance lies not only in throwing one’s body on the altar, but the quest to love and understand in the face of senseless violence. When war and bloodshed are the backdrop, one small woman, walking with a limp, staring into the buffalo’s eyes, is proof that humanity triumphs in dark times.”

I see the triumph of humanity a thousandfold, in big and small ways. There are thousands of acts of humanity every day in Brighton & Hove, and in the whole world. I’d like to think that Thousand 4 £1000 is one of those; we are only one part of a large community, and so are you. A heart felt thank you from me and all at T4K for your continued support and solidarity.

With warm wishes,

Susanne Schuster