22nd June is a day that Bristol citizens, as well as visitors from all over the country and beyond, will remember for a long time. Endless sky blue balloons, umbrellas and streamers accompanied hundreds of revellers and well wishers of people as they poured from formal celebration in the Coucil Hall, danced and wove together a tent of sanctuary on College Green, and marched into Bristol Cathedral for a moving and highly creative interfaith service.
The day after Bristol celebrated the launch, Co-ordinator Forward Maisokwadzo went to Brussels to collect an individual award from the European Network Against Racism for his efforts to make Bristol an official City of Sanctuary.
“I humbly thank all the organisations that have pledged their support,” he said.
“This award is a reflection of the progress in Bristol, which is now an example to others. The key issue here is understanding what the issues are and how do we want to live in a city together.
“And more specifically providing that necessity for people who are seeking sanctuary.”
The reception was followed by a special service in Bristol Cathedral with representatives and speeches from eight faiths as well as atheists to highlight the universal nature of the award. Finally, a beautiful Peace Mandala was symbolically released into the river as a sign of spreading the message of sanctuary into the world.