When I lived in America, my favorite National Holiday was Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that everyone in America celebrates regardless of faith or religion. It’s a time when families come together and the country reflects on what it has to be thankful for. I believe the UK needs a national bank holiday that is our equivalent of Thanksgiving, but is themed around unity and bringing communities together.
Our nation is divided, politically and economically, and the threat of terror has added further pressure to the threads that bind us as an inclusive multicultural society.
‘National Unity Day’
would be a great way to heal divisions and bring people together to celebrate all that unites us in the UK.
The UN already has International Solidarity Day, but this day is yet to take off like International Women’s Day. Perhaps the UK can lead the way by creating a day that becomes a great example to the rest of the world.
As I mentioned in the introduction to this book, being ‘United’ is our raison d’être, but it isn’t always easy. It requires give and take on both sides, but it is also fundamental to human development and to our very existence. I would like to see ‘National Unity Day’ become a national UK holiday with the focus on reaching out to others.
The success of ‘The Great Get Together’, introduced in 2017 to mark the anniversary of the murder of Jo Cox, has proved there is a clear appetite for this. The ‘Great Get Together’ encourages communities to come together in street parties to celebrate Jo’s message of ‘More in common’. I would like to see an extension of this idea, where on National Unity Day we all actively reach out to ‘other’ groups beyond our immediate community.
The day would have its own special rituals and menu, just like Thanksgiving, and charities or groups could be funded to facilitate a day of engagement in old people’s homes, youth offending institutions, mosques, rotary clubs and working men’s clubs – turning places that are normally exclusive to a particular demographic into places of inclusion and unity.