The fact that we even have a Brexit vote breaks my heart.
Now there aren't many things that I'm afraid of - apart from spiders, I mean who likes spiders, do even other spiders like spiders? - but I am definitely afraid of decisions made on the basis of fear. It just doesn't seem a sensible way for us all to move forward, yet still all manner of emotive scenarios have been imagined, with language to match. So there has been what can only be described as a demonisation of migrants. And that's just not okay. As I quoted in my blog from March, 60% of European migrants have degrees. One in seven UK firms are created by migrants, employing at least 1.16 million people. And European migrants contribute £2 billion a year in taxes. How are these not the stories that we tell people all day, every day?
Being Polish without a British passport I might not have a vote, but I have a voice and so do my colleagues at Azimo. That's why we've decided to start the ball rolling on a campaign to redefine the word 'migrant'. To show that the story being told now is not the only story. And to stand alongside people who move around the world in order to make their lives, and the lives of their families and communities, better. Now whether it is right for a commercial business to openly state a political position is open to debate. But sometimes, when you see how things are going, and you don't like it, you have to make a stand. You have to state what you believe in.
To start our campaign, we asked 3000 Brits and migrants about their opinions and experiences. We found it shocking that 1 in 3 migrants in the UK suffered from verbal abuse - so we made a short film that highlights the issue. Finally, we put together a report which made it very clear what information often shared about migration are myths (i.e. migrants are stealing all the jobs) and facts (i.e. UK unemployment is at it's lowest in a decade).
Reassuringly, we also found that Brits and migrants alike, share one thing: we really care about our families. 49% of Brits would themselves pack a bag and move to a different country if their family was in need.
Redefining the word migrant won't happen overnight. But it will happen, because it needs to happen. And it needs to happen, because however the EU Referendum goes, we all have to find ways to live together on a planet where people will always move from one country to another.
You can watch the film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSvvrJHUL7E
You can read the report here
I think it's a film worth watching, and a report worth reading. I believe it's important to speak up about things we really care about, and as a resident of this country I truly care about it's future. Well, as someone who came from Poland, lived in New York and started a business in London to service customers all over the world, I am somewhat biased. But I think together, we're better.
I'm certain Britain being part of the EU makes complete economic sense. And not just for the success of my business, but for the success of the country as a whole.