Bridges Not Walls movement brings young people together around the world
On Jan. 20, a set of protests were held across the world by the Bridges Not Walls movement to stand up to the right-wing bigotry that swept through politics last year, most notably the nasty rhetoric of Brexit in the U.K. and the election of now President Donald Trump in the United States.
The movement was founded in November 2016 by Will Stevens in the aftermath of the U.S. election, promising to make a stand against the right-wing hatred aiming to divide the world’s communities.
Refusing to allow the further rise and worsening of hatred, the group aimed to fight scapegoating and the message that declining living standards among common people are the fault of society’s oppressed. In this way, a hopeful message was projected not just in the U.K. but in many spots worldwide.
Banners bearing messages of acceptance and tolerance were hung from bridges in Britain, Scotland, the U.S., Ethiopia, Australia and New Zealand, showing solidarity with refugees, ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and other groups who have been demonized by politicians in recent events. Many of those participating were young people who turned out to challenge Trump’s most frightening policy, building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Numerous organizations teamed up with the movement to expand its reach and overall message, including the U.K.’s Green Party, the Muslim Council of Britain, Hope Not Hate and GreenPeace. The London borough of Brixton saw an especially large gathering of young people with the Advocacy Academy, an organization that aims to empower young people in the surrounding area.
The movement, followed up by the Women’s March in London on Jan. 21 gave young people a strong avenue for making their voices heard and pushing back against the difficult times in which we all find ourselves. “Bridges Not Walls" offers a full set of resources here for anyone wishing to join their cause.