As Westminster readies itself to be lit up in red, white and blue, and Brexit Party MEPs frantically wave their Union Jacks, I am looking to Bristol and our citizens.
What does leaving the EU mean for our city? And most importantly, what does it mean for our people?
From tomorrow we won’t notice an immediate difference; travel will at first remain the same, trade will continue without additional checks, and freedom of movement will still be allowed. But tomorrow is the first day of a long journey that we have numerous hurdles to overcome.
This is not a time for gloating. There are no winners or losers. It now doesn’t matter how you voted. What is important is that as a city, and as a country, we pull together. Brexit hasn’t caused divisions, they were there already and have been years in the making. But Brexit has given opportunity for divisions to deepen and given voice to those who use the guise of democracy to propagate hate speech.
Please know this: If you are an EU citizen that has chosen Bristol as your home, then we are honoured. You are welcome, you are valued, and you are as much of a Bristolian as those who were born here.
If you are not a UK citizen and you haven’t already, then please make sure your future rights are protected by applying for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). We offer support with this at the Customer Services Point on Temple Street.
Look to your neighbours, friends and family. If you know someone who is an EU citizen and may be feeling vulnerable or might need help applying for the EUSS then please step up and help them.
We can all play our part. Bristol can lead the way by showing the UK how kindness can bring the country back together.