Asha took advantage of a special Refugee Week lunch to pay tribute to Jude Hawes, one of the city’s leading campaigners for refugees and asylum seekers.
Jude has spent much of the last 18 years supporting the city’s refugee and asylum-seeking communities in her role as specialist advice and equalities manager at Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent. The value of her work is immense. It contributes greatly to community harmony enabling people to contribute to the wellbeing of their neighbourhood and in doing so replacing suspicion with friendship.
Jude’s partner Alastair and members of her team were invited; Jude’s immediate reaction was to ask why Alastair was there when he was supposed to be working from home. The ready answer was that Alastair was a last minute invitee because Asha is beholden to him for managing Asha’s Mail Chimp!
Following a delicious lunch cooked by asylum seekers from Syria, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Africa, Angela surprised Jude by asking her to come forward. Following a short appreciation of her work for asylum seekers, John Wood who retired as Assistant Chief Constable in 2007 and is currently the independent chair of the Safeguarding Adults Board, presented Jude with a bowl inscribed ‘Am I Not a Man and Your Brother’ reprising the plaque which Josiah Wedgwood manufactured to support the abolition of the Slave Trade.As a footnote, Jude, John and Angela had worked together in the late 80s and 90s on PARINS (Partnership Approach to Racist Incidents in North Staffordshire – now Challenge North Staffs). This left Godefroid to give Jude a rose bush and to thank her on behalf of all the asylum seekers and refugees who had been assisted and supported by the services she developed.
The occasion was shared with 30 Asha supporters and 31 asylum seekers.