Mayor Philip Glanville has launched a ‘#hackneylovesyou’ campaign to make the borough’s 41,500 residents from the EU feel welcome amid debates over Brexit.
The Mayor paid tribute to the contribution EU nationals make in Hackney and unveiled a new “I Love Hackney” badge modelled on the EU flag.
Mayor Glanville said: “As we enter a party conference season that it is clear will be dominated by Brexit debates, some no doubt more constructive than others, the three million EU nationals living in this country may be feeling that they have become collateral damage in the political fallout from last year’s referendum.
“European citizens in Hackney make an enormous contribution to the civic, economic and cultural life of this borough, and it seems right that at this time of anxiety and change, we should let them know how much we value them, and the contribution that they make.”
The Mayor is asking for stories about how EU nationals contribute to life in Hackney to be sent in by email to email@example.com or tweeted with the hashtag #hackneylovesyou. Badges will be sent to anyone who takes part.
Hackney had one of the strongest Remain votes in the EU referendum, with 78 per cent voting to stay in the EU.
Mayor Glanville said: “As a local authority we can’t do much about Brexit, apart from collectively lobby government to lessen the impact on local services.
“But what we can do is to tell our EU citizens that they will always be welcome here, and that Hackney values all the positive things that they, collectively and individually, bring to the borough.
“And while we recognise that hate crime in Hackney has not increased a greatly as elsewhere, we must be vigilant and stand up for our shared values.”
He added: “With that in mind, we’ve produced a special, limited edition ‘I Love Hackney’ badge that celebrates our EU citizens. As a veteran of many political and charity campaigns, I know that you can’t change the world with badges.
“However, there is something powerful about giving people a way to express the way they feel, and I hope that, even in this small way, we can make our citizens feel welcome and valued, at a very uncertain time.”