UpRise is the legacy of the Rise Festival, an event held annually in London’s Finsbury Park and Europe’s largest anti-racism festival, until Mayor Boris Johnson cancelled it in April 2009.
Despite the Mayor’s refusal to reinstate Rise following the receipt of a 3,000-strong petition, campaign organisers and Finsbury Park residents Freya Van Lessen and Mike Barnard are committed to continue Rise’s legacy by staging their own anti-racism event.
UpRise: London United against Racism will take place later this year with encouragement from a number of organisations that were previously involved in Rise Festival, including the Trades Union Congress, who set up the original Rise Festival in 1996.
Speaking at the Progressive London Conference, Mike Barnard said: “Boris Johnson made a serious error in judgement when he stripped Rise of its core anti-racism message and proceeded to cancel the event at a time when organisations with racist beliefs and policies were and continue to receive increasing amounts of political and media coverage.
“Rise was a landmark event for Londoners, and it is for this reason that we have been working tirelessly to plan UpRise, a festival with the same purpose as Rise.”
Other organisations that are supporting the continuation of Rise’s legacy through UpRise include the National Assembly Against Racism, the Runnymede Trust, Unison, Unite and Love Music, Hate Racism.