The Guardian reports: In a room in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, south London, on Thursday morning, more than 80 people, spilling into the corridor, talk about their experiences since the referendum result.
They are mainly from South America, holding Spanish passports, still members of the European Union, legitimately in the UK. Half a dozen had been expected. Barristers María González-Merello and John Samson hold a free weekly legal advice clinic for Spanish-speaking cleaners who work for government departments and major companies in the city. This was different.
“We called an emergency meeting because we’ve had so many people telling us about incidents [of apparent racism and xenophobia],” González-Merello says. “One woman had a cut in her pay packet, and when she complained she was told if she didn’t like it she should go back home. Another man was waiting for the night bus at 2am to go to work when a stranger said: ‘Haven’t you heard the news? You should have left.’”
At the meeting, packed with babies, toddlers and anxious adult faces, one woman says she has worked for an employer for six years. On the Friday of the referendum result she was offered a new, less attractive, zero-hours contract.
Another young woman says she and her friends, all with Spanish passports, regularly visit a Watford nightclub. Last weekend they were refused entry. “Is this because of Brexit?” they asked. The answer was yes.
González-Merello, who has lived in Britain for 20 years, says she was talking to her son on a bus in Spanish and a man said: “You fucking foreigners, you are always making a noise.”
Victims such as her, she says, are now self-policing, taking care, for instance, not to speak in a language other than English in public. Her 12-year-old son recently asked: “Mama, are you going to be deported?”
“It’s the hurt and humiliation,” she says. “And the concern that we don’t know where it may end.” [Continue reading…]