As the fallout from the EU referendum result continues, one unexpected and disturbing consequence has been the rise in brazen racist and xenophobic abuse directed towards anyone who appears not to be from the UK.
As a direct result, and as a stand for solidarity within the town, Tim Tarby-Donald and Steve Gold of the Visit Banbury Group have hastily organised a nonpolitical, all encompassing community event for Saturday, July 16.
Tim Tarby-Donald explains: “Having attended BBC Breakfast’s Live TV broadcast from Banbury market place on Saturday (June 25) morning Steve Gold and I sat and had a cup of tea at the Whistling Kettle and decided that irrespective of the political pros and cons, Visit Banbury needed to make some sort of stand in solidarity with all of the nationalities living and working in Banbury.”
“We decided to be the catalyst for a wider group of people to be able to show that they too were standing in solidarity with their neighbours regardless of race nationality or ethnicity. And so was born ‘Banbury International’.
The event from 12pm until 3pm will take place at the Banbury Community Action Group Community Garden behind Naomi’s Cafe on Bridge Street, Banbury.
Naomi Perkins, who owns the cafe said: “I hope we get people from all nationalities and people feel at ease, feel the love and find that it’s somewhere they can come and enjoy themselves.
“No other pretences, wherever, whatever race or nationality, it doesn’t matter. I hope people come and enjoy the party.”
This alarming new trend of racial hatred is now a staple of social media with video after video showing men and women of all ages hurling xenophobic abuse to victims on buses, in shops or on the street.
Mr Tarby-Donald said: “Recent events have meant that both anecdotally and via official reports, the UK is seeing an increase in the amount of hate, racism and xenophobia shown to people who just days ago were treated exactly like the rest of us.
“We know for many people this is not a new phenomenon as they have frequently experienced racism but for a whole group of people who have made the UK their home, all of a sudden the UK rather than being a tolerant, welcoming and open society has become at best unfriendly and at worst hostile and nasty.”
Banbury International will feature live local musicians, arts and creative crafts and organisers ask for food to be brought to eat and share.
A fig tree, a traditional symbol of prosperity, will also be planted during the event.