We Shall Overcome enters its sixth campaign this year needed now more than ever before.
With the post-election and post-Brexit fallout consuming the national conversation, and ideological warfare sucking all the air out of social media, it is once again those at the front line of government cuts who get left behind and forgotten.
It shouldn’t be this way. Yet such have been the battles for control of the wider political narrative, that those who need representation the most often get the least, and the more time we spend fighting, the more we begin to associate politics with the art of winning an argument and not the act of solving a real and pressing need on our streets.
The We Shall Overcome movement began the day after the General Election of May 2015 as a response from the artistic community to the renewed vigor with which the newly elected Tory government was set to pursue its austerity agenda. We wanted to encourage anyone, whether they had run a gig before or not, to book a venue and run a local benefit gig for their community. We wanted you to choose where that help went, because you knew and understood the needs of your town better than anyone. So we had people collecting donations of not just cash, but food, warm clothing, toiletries, sanitary ware, you name it, if it was needed we were running gigs to collect it, for food banks, soup kitchens, homeless outreach, crisis centres, refugee support and youth projects.
And we have had success too, with more than 1000 events in 150 towns and cities up and down the UK raising an estimated £500,000 worth of help for those struggling to make ends meet out there; not just the homeless, but those on poverty wages in zero hours employment battling to raise a family and swimming against the tide.
We Shall Overcome is something I am phenomenally proud to be a part of. It’s a genuinely community-led movement of ordinary people who roll up their sleeves and become that somebody somewhere who does something about it. These are people being the change they want to see in the world.
They inspire me.
And I hope they will inspire you to join in and make #WSO2020 a force for good in an uncertain world.
Get in touch.