By Corinne Lancelin
Saturday October 8 a number of associations came together in Pézénas (Foyer de Campagnes) for a very successful event called All Together with Refugees to show support and offer information.
The visitors, estimated to be between 300 and 400, circulated among the stands of CCFD –Terre solidaire, Secours populaire français, Secours catholique, Stop racism, Lieu ressources, our own LSR as well as art associations like Hé dis Boby, Théâtre de pierres, Brumes matinales. There was also an exposition of paintings following the refugee theme, among them those of a Syrian artist who had fled Damascus. Several excellent musical performances added to the atmosphere.
In the morning, CCFD and Cimade gave presentations with the help of a moving slideshow, enabling the public to more easily understand the flow of global and regional migrations.
LSR took an active part in this event. Our stand was in a good, visible location, displaying photos and graphics of our activities, as well as a True-or-False display of a number of prejudices about refugees.
The communal buffet lunch, prepared partially by refugee families, was followed by the very moving film Nowhere in France by Yolande Moreau about the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk.
Afterwards Sarah Berry spoke about her volunteer work with the refugees and her aid trip to Greece. Shaka Advani and Bassie Scott, two LSR volunteers, told the story of their work with the Syrian families squatting in la Devèze in Béziers. Danica Jurisic, with the help of shocking photos, told of the misery of the refugees living in the streets of Paris and her daily struggles to help them.
The emotion was palpable, the public attentive and serious. After the testimonies by the volunteers and the discussions with members of the public, people circulated among the stands, looking for information, and finding out how to help. LSR received many offers of help and signed up a number of new members.