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We at Manchester City of Sanctuary wanted to stretch out a hand of solidarity in response to the tragic events that occurred in Manchester last month. We can only express our sadness at the loss that so many families in Manchester are having to endure: there are no words that can bring solace after such a tragedy. Trustees, volunteers and all of our members have been greatly saddened by the reality of the loss and tragedy that unfolded at the MEN arena. For many of our members the loss of life was a potent reminder of the stories and violence Sanctuary Seekers have themselves survived. Our members contribute to the life of Manchester on a daily basis: in hospitals, through writing, drama and art, and often volunteering full time to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in Manchester in charities like the Mustard Tree.

The lives of Sanctuary Seekers are intertwined with the communities that they live within. DAESH aim to divide our communities, alienating us on religious and cultural grounds, by sowing fear. At this time of loss and sadness we hope that, at Manchester City of Sanctuary, we can promote unity and a sense of common humanity amongst all peoples in our city. This, we feel, is the wisest and most bold form of defiance we can facilitate. We warmly welcome all to come to our events to experience and cultivate a feeling of welcome and unity in our city and towns. It is our hope that by standing together we can embody a defiance against terror that is hopeful, resilient and uplifting for all who share the spaces we hold. In such spaces we say boldly, without hesitation, that Sanctuary Seeker and Mancunian alike: we love Manchester.