Hull Councillor thanks the city for accepting his family as refugees in the eighties

Published: Monday 28th September 2015 by KCFM

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Councillor Haroldo Herrara-Richmond is now urging the community to show the same empathy with the Syrian refugees.

A Hull Councillor’s asking the city’s residents to show compassion for Syrian refugees.

It’s after the community of Hull welcomed himself and his family as refugees back in the eighties, when he was just four years old.

His father had been murdered following political unrest in Chile, and his mother feared for the lives of him and his younger brother.

It was a hard decision to leave, but Haroldo says they had no other choice:

“We couldn’t have stayed. The threat was such that we would have had to leave like thousands of people from Chile had to leave. The regime in Chile was brutal and we don’t really know how many people died, because so many disappeared, that we still haven’t found.

“I fully understand the people from Syria or other places that are war-torn, that it’s the last decision you want to make. If the alternative is your kids being taken away by secret police, or recruited into an army, or sold, or just starve because there is no food.”

Haroldo found it difficult to fit in at first, and says moving from another country can be traumatic for child refugees:

“I don’t remember too much, because I was little. What I do remember is not knowing where I was. The terrible sense of loss, of the larger family, grandparents. cousins, uncles and aunts, friends. All of that was stripped away.”

Now, he’s hoping Hull will welcome the Syrian refugees, like they did for him and his family.

“It’s hard enough that you lose things, if you feel like you’re not welcome as well, I can only imagine that the trauma is worse. The way the community reacts to refugees is important.

“Refugees aren’t here to take. They’re here because they have nowhere to go, to give their children a decent life. They are normal people, doing normal jobs, who just can’t do it where they were because of no fault of their own; And we should, not just welcome them, but welcome the contribution they can make to Hull.”

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Published: Monday 28th September 2015 by KCFM

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