I don’t know who you are. You exist in the lies we are told and the truth we try to find: you are not human; you are a plague; our borders are closed.
Your name has been replaced with a measure of your worth.
But you are welcome here. I welcome you. Land of hope and inglory. We are nothing but the sum of our foreign parts.
You are welcome. The way you talk and the way you dress. The food you eat and the music you play. Without you I wouldn’t be buying polish bread every week. Without you I would have had no one to deliver either of my babies. Without you I would be speaking to myself when I go to my local post office. Without you I would never have eaten borek, or schwarma, or jerk chicken, or dahl or humous or plantain. Without you our schools would be empty. Without you I would have had a lot less hugs. Without you I would never have attempted Afghan dancing. Without you I would not understand my fortune in being born where I was born. Without you I would not understand my privilege in never having had to load my children into a boat. Without you I would not understand the luck of the draw.
You are my grandfather and my neighbour. My childminder and my doctor. My father in law and so my children. You are the promise of generations from the past and those to come.
Without you Britain would taste less sweet, less salty. It would be less colourful, less interesting. You are welcome. With whatever you bring. Our politicians only see that you have nothing. We see that you give us everything.
Lily Einhorn, London, Community Arts Practitioner.