City of Sanctuary, City of Hope

Yesterday I spoke at the launch of the ChangeMakers project report, From Sanctuary to Opportunity, with Ashley Community Housing and the RAMP Project. ChangeMakers works to connect refugees’ lived experience with policy, helping build regional capacity to welcome and include refugees; create pathways to meaningful employment; and close the two-tier gap on refugee support.

I was pleased to write a foreword for the report, and to see videos of support from fellow Mayors Migration Council members Mayor Giuseppe Sala of Milan and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago of Kampala.

The report can be read in full below.

“The movement of people makes cities what they are – places where people come together to share and exchange. Where people make safe homes and futures. But to share in the success of the city and to foster genuine integration, we need to have confidence in our identities and promote economic, social, political and cultural inclusion.

“As you deliver The Change Makers Project as part of other great work in Bristol, let us remember that attitudes to migration are not just polarised, they are highly complex. Attitudes to migrants have hardened as populations across Europe and North America have turned to populist politicians and rejected globalisation, of which migration is a central part. But in Bristol we know that with the right policies and structures in place, migrants and refugees can bring fresh ideas, resources and perspectives that contribute economically, socially, and culturally.

“Three global issues – the pandemic, racial inequality, and the climate emergency – show what we have in common as human beings is far more important than our differences.

“We are at the dawn of a decade when the decisions we make as a city and as society on how to address economic inequality, climate change, technological innovation, and political polarisation will shape our shared future for generations to come.

“I challenge all communities, new and established, to ensure migration works for all. A Local Authority on its own cannot guarantee that someone seeking sanctuary will be able to thrive in their new community. But for Bristol we do have a corporate vision to “play a leading role in driving a city of hope and aspiration where everyone can share in its success.”

“At both a national and global level we need to see more city-to-city cooperation. Cities and global networks of cities working together as equal partners in shaping national and international policy. We want to see global south / north cooperation at the city level. I’m encouraged by efforts now being driven by the Mayors Migration Council, a new initiative to support cities to become more influential at the global level.

“I am proud to sit on the Leadership Board of the Council alongside mayors from across the globe, and together we are determined to make progress on expanding the role for cities. I hope this report sets a roadmap for the Change Makers Project and contributes to creating an inclusive city, which works for all.”