Something a little different today. This time two weeks ago, the result of Britain’s EU referendum was announced, and that we would be leaving the union. Within hours there were reports of people being harassed in the street and told to ‘go home’, racist graffiti, and general anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment. How much of this was in response to the vote, how much of it was even true, is hard to say. But the result is the same either way – all of a sudden a lot of people felt unwelcome in Britain.
We didn’t witness any of this ourselves, but we live in a very multicultural area, and my wife and I wanted to do something about it as a family – a little gesture of welcome and acceptance. It so happens that I’d bought a badge machine for another project that week. It was also the week of a local community event, the fabulous High Town Festival. So we put these two together, the organisers were happy to accommodate something, and we made some badges.
They’re not sophisticated. They’re one inch button badges that say ‘you are welcome’ on them. People can wear them as a gesture of welcome to others, or take one to give away.
We took a bunch of these to the festival, along with the machine. Children could decorate and make their own badge. Adults could make one too if they were so inclined, or choose one ready-made. We had a steady stream of people along all afternoon, lots of badges made and given away, and several requests to come and make badges at other events, including one at a school and one at a church.
I may get to a couple more events, but I don’t need to be there. If you like the idea, you can make your own – and there’s no need to make it about the EU, either. It’s a pretty universal message.
Here are the A4 printouts for the badges. You can do them yourself if you have a machine, or send the artwork to a local company to make them. It’s a nice talking point to make them live at the event, and everybody loves using the press, but you could make them in advance and give them out. If you have design skills, you can no doubt make a more interesting badge than this one – send it to me if you do, and I’ll post it here too.