If you don’t know what We Shall Overcome is, then please read on. If you do, then you’ll already know how much this matters, but I hope you’ll stay with it because we need you now like never before.
We Shall Overcome began the day after the General Election of May 2015. It was, and is, a response from the artistic community to the poverty inflicted on our communities by Austerity.
We wanted to run a series of gigs up and down the country which both protested against what we consider an ideological assault on the poorest and most vulnerable in society, but at the same time do something to help.
We call it ‘A Raised Fist and a Helping Hand’.
The idea is the events raise whatever is needed for whoever needs it most, and the help STAYS in the community which raised it. We believe local people know their town the best and are therefore best suited to deciding where that help ends up. So gigs have been run raising food, cash, clothing, bedding, furniture, electrical goods, school uniforms….pretty much anything and everything; and this help has been used to support food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, crisis centres and youth projects.
So far, We Shall Overcome organisers have put together more than 780 of these events in 142 different towns and cities, across nine countries, on three continents and we estimate the value of all that help to be somewhere in the region of £350,000, but we’ll never ever know the final total because how can you put a value on the chap who volunteers to drive halfway across Manchester to take a second-hand sofa from a garage to an unfurnished flat we’ve managed to find and fund for a homeless mother? How can you put a value on the sparky who turns out after work to help put a home back together?
You can’t. And nor does it matter. What matters is you get involved in any way you can, because all those big numbers didn’t come about through a concerted media campaign, they came about because every seemingly insignificant gesture- every £2 bag of groceries, every donated jumper, every spare toaster, every pocket of change all added up and stopped being insignificant; because TOGETHER they represent something very significant indeed, something life-changing.
So PLEASE join us. We will be running events over and around the weekend of October 5/6/7 this year and the more we can run, the more help we can give, and at that stage of the year, with winter just around the corner, EVERY gig will matter massively.
Universal Credit is biting very hard on already struggling families; zero hours contracts and poverty wages are forcing even those in work into the food banks and that puts a strain on their already meagre resources; the numbers of street homeless are rising every day; benefit sanctions are forcing some of the most vulnerable out there to go without proper food, and sometimes power, for days and weeks at a time.
None of this should be happening, and while we campaign for a political end to this state-inflicted misery, we must also help alleviate the worst excesses of #ToryNeglect in #FoodBankBritain. We must fight AGAINST austerity while we fight FOR our communities.
JOIN IN. RUN A GIG! GET IN TOUCH.
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We need you. #WSO2018 needs you. The country needs you.
This is how we fight back.