We Shall Overcome just hit the magic 1000 events mark!!!
Together, hundreds of people up and down this land and beyond have organised ONE THOUSAND gigs since October 2015. Each was run in solidarity with those in their communities suffering most at the hand of government policy, and each targeted support right to the front line of need.
Those ONE THOUSAND events have taken place in more than 150 different towns and cities from Brighton to Belfast and beyond, and by the end of #WSO2019 we estimate they will have raised a staggering £500,000 worth of food, cash, clothing, bedding, furniture, electrical goods, tents and sleeping bags for food banks, homeless outreach, crisis centres and soup kitchens; all at the grassroots and all in urgent need of help.
Of course we shouldn't have to do this. The sixth largest economy on the planet should be able to care for its citizens, but we all know it doesn't, and we all know it has no intention of doing so because it is ideologically opposed to the notion of lifting a finger. But we are a compassionate people, and we will not pass by on the other side when there are those in need. We never have and we never will.
We watch how it is done daily. Through targeted poverty-hatred in the media; through Universal Credit; through poverty wages; through zero hours contracts; through statistically-driven benefit sanctions; through a government able to stand up in parliament and declare a 'jobs miracle' when it is possible to have three or four of these jobs and still never get an hour's work.
It is done through discrimination, recrimination and blame; but we do not buy into it and we will fight til they lose.
It is fitting that it should be Pauline Town who confirms the gig which takes us to ONE THOUSAND events. Working from the heart of our movement The Station Hotel, Ashton Under Lyne, Pauline's Christmas WSO events helped more than a 1000 people and made sure SIXTEEN men, women and children are able to start 2019 in new accomodation, safe from the threat of homelessness. No-one has given more to our movement, and no-one deserves to clock up the phenomenal ONE THOUSAND more than she.
#WSO2019 has only just begun, but it has started with an incredible achievement for all involved and I hope that it becomes the springboard for more record-breaking over the coming 12 months, because there is no doubt about it, the need is greater than ever.
A massive THANK YOU from all at WSO Central to EVERYONE who has contributed in any way, large or small, to We Shall Overcome. It all matters. This was just an idea until the first person rocked up with a tin of beans and now look at it. This is what can be achieved through ordinary people working together on something way bigger than the sum of its parts. YOU did this, ALL of you.
This is solidarity put into practice.
WE are many. THEY are few.
We can do this.