Casper ter Kuile shared this clip with us as a beautiful example of a social change initiative that is completely rooted in meaning and experience.
I love how contagious it is and how it is turning entire cities into giving fields. On their blog, Giuilia, a newly arrived volunteer from Italy, shares how surprised she was to see so many asylum seekers and refugees actively involved in organizing City of Sanctuary gatherings, resulting in an unusual melding of the roles of ‘giver’ and ‘receiver’.
In my past experience I have seen that it has often been difficult to get [asylum seekers and refugees] involved in social initiatives promoted by local people.
The reason might be that they felt it was a “charitable gift” from local people rather than a social occasion useful for everyone from the community… it was because they felt it as compulsory and not wanting to seem “ungrateful” for the “support” they were receiving from other people.
The spontaneous questions which arise from this are: who decides who is the rightful member of the community if it is not the community itself? Who makes the community? What makes the sense of “local”?
I can, instead, observe in Sheffield a mutual engagement from all people living in the city – whether or not they were born here- in organising, handling and participating in local events or activities: that gives the real meaning of what is local and attests to the simple essence of what is ‘community’.
(Home page photo from Coventry City of Sanctuary)