September has flooded in, with a stream of interesting things going on in Sheffield – Diversity Fest, for a start. This free, one-day festival celebrates all sections of the local community in a big statement of unity and mutual respect among people of every gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age and ability, with music ranging from Iranian Blues to ‘chicks with decks’. E.D.E.N. Films bring their look at opposing LGBTQ prejudice, and there’s dance, talk, DJ sets and far more.

There’s never been a festival of diversity here until this year, and I think that’s something worth celebrating. We’re a great mixture of people, not one of those clone towns where everyone looks and dresses alike. And we don’t make a fuss about it. It’s no surprise that societies do crack up, but ours hasn’t, and I’m not scared that it will. Muslim extremists? Don’t make me laugh. Sheffield’s been around that question when David Cameron was still at ‘that university’. It only takes one incident to spark off a scare. It takes years of living side-by-side to build a community, and we’ve been there and done that.

Diversity’s a fact of life and there’s no such thing as normal. People vary in every way, from size to sexuality, from family background to favourite food. But what unites us is far more important, and that, paradoxically, includes diversity. We can see others as different, but without fearing difference. We can see someone else as either a stranger or a friend we haven’t met yet. I think I’ll go to this festival. It’s on Saturday 19 September, 2pm till midnight, at Hagglers Corner.

“In diversity there is beauty and there is strength,” said Maya Angelou. But do we want diversity of healthcare? Not if ‘choice’ actually means destruction of the good system we’ve got. Later this month, Save Our NHS presents a talk and film screening of Sell Off at Theatre Delicatessen on The Moor (Tuesday 22 Sept, 7pm). This is an exposé of the secret privatisation agenda and a call to arms from a GP’s point of view.

It’s all part of the fight back against forces of exploitation and division, like the drop-in and training sessions run this month by Sheffield charity ASSIST. They offer training and background information on the complex asylum system, so that we can support those suffering under it.

Sheffield CND is also fighting the good fight against the forces of division and extremism that send young people out to kill. A coach will be taking supporters to the Drone Network Campaign action on Saturday 3 October at RAF Waddington. The following day a huge contingent will head over the Pennines to demonstrate at the Conservative Party Conference. So much going on, so much to protest about. As someone once said, if you’re not angry, you haven’t been paying attention.

diversityfest.wordpress.com
alt-sheff.org


TIME TO ACT CLIMATE CONFERENCE

Sat 19 September | All day | Sheffield College
Sheffield hosts a high-level national conference this month organised by Sheffield Climate Alliance, all about the urgent need for a climate movement and investment in climate jobs to create warm, healthy homes, low-fare public transport and renewable energy.
sheffieldclimatealliance.net 

VINTAGE BY THE KILO POP-UP
September & October | Various locations
This legendary Sheffield company offers stylish second-hand clothing by weight. Their large collection is quality and not expensive. They’re at Theatre Delicatessen on 24-26 September, University of Sheffield on 1 October, and Peddlers Night Market, Arundel Street, on 2 & 3 October.
vintagebythekilo.com 

Hosted by Alt-Sheff