A group of Liverpool students is campaigning for asylum seekers' rights through community work and silent protests.
Student Action for Refugees (STAR) is a nationwide organisation, but has been brought to Liverpool by students who work to give help, raise funds and spread awareness for asylum seekers in the city.
The group has run events involving DJ’s from popular student night 'Eat Your Greens', the last of which raised over £1,000, and also holds community workshops for men and women, but perhaps the most striking event though is the groups ‘Circle of Silence’.
A protest is held each month, where students and supporters stand in a ring in the town centre, with their mouths gaffer-taped up to represent the asylum seekers' silent struggle.
STAR group member Jasmine Mitchell spoke to JMU
Journalism about the protest. She said: “One of the most
important things is for people to see asylum seekers as
individuals. They are often seen as this collective and it is hard
to get that out of people’s heads.
"Some people just stop and stare, some people stop, talk and
we let them know what we’re doing, and some people stop, see
the banner and just walk away, but the general response is
good,” she added.
Another of the group’s activities is a conversation class, held
once a week, which brings some of the cities refugees
together to socialise and work on their English.
The class is open to a large variety of people, with attendee’s ages ranging from the early-20s to mid-50s, with people coming from places of major conflict such as Libya and Afghanistan.
Being a student-run body, STAR is always on the lookout for new members, and conversation class leader Tom Godwin told JMU Journalism about the benefits of joining the group. He said: "For anyone who is part of our group, you can take away the skills you learn for the rest of your life, you have the information and you’ve met the people and heard the stories.
"It is not just parties and events, it is talking to people in everyday life that is what’s important to us as a student group, it’s raising awareness.“
By Adam Nash, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life
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STAR supporters stand in a 'Circle of Silence; the STAR team and just a few of the people they help