Event summary: GWS at XR, The Big One.

Together with 60,000, we took part in XR’s The Big One, four days of action 21-24 April, around Parliament to force the UK government to act on the climate emergency.

Day One: Unite to Survive – “Women Care” Speak Out

Diverse networks of mothers, grandmothers, other carers and people with disabilities spoke out on refusing poverty, the devaluing of caring and cuts in benefits, and the criminalisation of protests. The government wants to cut mothers’ and disabled people’s benefits, to force us “back to work” regardless of needs, wishes or poverty wages – stealing our survival entitlements to enrich fossil fuel polluters and other destructive industries. Raising children and coping with disability and ill-health is essential work which should be supported not punished.

Day Two: Earth Day – “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Free Ourselves” Rally

On 24 April, Mumia Abu-Jamal turned 69 years old. He is one of the best-known political prisoners in the US and will have been inside 42 years for a crime he did not commit. His campaign for legal redress has been dealt another blow. On 3 April 2023, Judge Lucretia Clemons in Philadelphia dismissed the petition to hear evidence that had been withheld from the original defence team “lost” for 40 years – evidence that in other cases would have led to prisoner release. The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Campaign in London is joining with others across Europe and the US, to redouble efforts to free Mumia.

Day Three: “Climate Justice = Migrant Justice”

Thousands of activists from across the UK gathered outside the Home Office, 23 April 2023, to hear why we must come together to oppose the Home Secretary’s “Illegal Migrants Bill” and her detested Rwanda Plan. People deposited thousands of origami pink boats which had a template letter for MPs:

“Climate justice and migrant justice are inextricably connected. Of the 59.1 million people internally displaced in 2021 across the world, most were displaced by climate-related disasters. As the climate crisis worsens, as a result of actions of this government among others, more people will be forced to migrate. This Bill denies people who are fleeing for their lives a place of safety by increasing detention and arbitrarily denying people the right to apply for asylum.”

20,000 origami boats were made and posted to MPs and Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

Hear from those directly affected why we must all oppose this repressive and dangerous legislation.

Day Four: “March to end Fossil Fuels”

Planning groups we worked with during all four days included women from Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign; East London Unite Community; Justice for Bristol Protesters; Mothers’ Manifesto; Nanas Against Fracking; Newham Disability Reps Forum; Single Mothers’ Self-Defence; WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities); Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike; XRUK programming; and individuals from around the UK as well as from Payday men’s network.