A positive message on immigration
Upon returning to England from New Zealand I felt the anti-immigrant voices were becoming much more confident throughout the general election. I felt powerless to influence this. Then I thought about how I could counteract these messages and the idea of a banner came to me.
Throughout my year in Wellington, New Zealand as a Resident Friend I began to understand better the experience of colonisation and how marginalised groups are affected by negative messages and stereotypes.
I returned to England and felt the anti-immigrant voices were becoming much more confident throughout the general election. I felt powerless to influence this.
I decided that I should not be afraid to speak my truth.- Marion Mcnichol, Reading Local Meeting
Initially I thought about funding an advertising hoarding but then thought of my own banner; they are fairly cheap to buy on the internet. I felt nervous about hanging it out of the upstairs window when it arrived as my 7–year–old grandson was sleeping in that room. I wondered if it would attract a brick through the window but decided that I should not be afraid to speak my truth.
Redressing the balance
The banner stayed up for a month on a busy bus route and went viral on Twitter. Someone sent it to Alastair Campbell and he retweeted it to 24,000 followers. I felt so much better having taken some power back for myself.
I then took the banner to the town meal attended by 300 people and hung it on the bandstand, watching as people photographed it and talking to some of them. A man from Ghana asked me to pose with the banner, wanting to tell me how hard he worked and he sent it off on Facebook to friends in Ghana. I could see that people liked it by how many times it was photographed and felt proud to have done a small thing to redress the balance.
Speaking my truth
The badges "I'm a Quaker ask me why" encourage us to speak our truth more confidently and this was a push towards taking this action.