Over the weekend 16-18 June 2017, the anniversary of the death of MP Jo Cox, communities across the UK came together to remember, to celebrate and to promote diversity and inclusivity in a nationwide event called The Great Get Together which was supported by Jo’s family, friends and colleagues. There was a chance to do the same in Aberystwyth too.
The first step was for Morlan and Cymru i Bawb to join forces to organise a bilingual version of the event: Dewch at Eich Gilydd – The Great Get Together. A number of local groups – friends of Morlan who share a similar vision – were invited to be part of the Organising Committee. Around a dozen of them accepted this invitation, full of ambition and keen to organise a day of activities on 17 June. Quite an undertaking, but everything worked out well and it turned out to be a great day with the sun shining down on us and Aberystwyth and its residents at their best.
Côr Gobaith kicked off proceedings singing around town to promote the various activities and to remind everyone of the day’s message – that we have more in common and there is more that unites us than divides us.
A community lunch then took place in St Paul’s Methodist Centre – provided by Aber Food Surplus using food from local supermarkets, and people bringing a pudding to share. Around 100 turned up to share a tasty meal in a warm and sharing atmosphere.
The activities moved over to the Old College in the afternoon. In the Quad, children were asked to draw something they enjoyed and answer three simple questions. The aim was to show that children are children whatever their background or experiences, they too have ‘more in common’ as Jo Cox said.
Whilst the children were enjoying their activity, the grown ups were enjoying a light-hearted, social activity called TrioLingo – a chance to learn words and simple phrases in some of the different languages spoken in Aberystwyth. Around 45 people came together to learn 16 languages, and it was a great opportunity for the Syrian refugees to realise that they are not the only minority in the town.
A half hour of silent rememberance then took place at various locations in the town. Powerful messages on the various placards reinforced the messages seen on banners around town and the red gingham – on the placards and banners, on posters and leaflets, pieces of ribbon on people’s clothing, and in bunting in some shops – united it all, a powerful symbol of our desire to live in a community where everyone is accepted, and all human beings are respected without distinction, whatever their race, language, culture, religion, gender, sexuality or ability
The day came to a close with a rousing concert at Morlan in the evening with a variety of performers, languages and musical styles ending with everyone holding hand and singing the chorus made famous by Edward H. Dafis (Dewch at eich Gilydd – Come Together) – a special finale to a day to remember. Local poet Euring Salisbury had adapted the verse to fit the occasion and they sum up the message of the day perfectly.
When the spectres always feed upon your worries,
When the walls around you mimic the night,
There’s no lock upon the door, go pull it open,
The world is waiting for you, let in the light.
Can you make a stand and speak the truth to power,
Bring to light the lies that make us so small?
Dare to sing and raise your voice above the shadows
That hope is here to stay and love conquers all.