Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Heart of STAR 2002 - Jonathan Ellis

In celebration of STAR’s 25th birthday, we took the time to reconnect and share the stories of the people who made it possible for STAR to be where it is today. These are The Hearts of STAR, these are the change-makers, who through the decades strived to positively impact the lives of refugees and create a welcoming society in the UK and we are proud to share their stories with you on this Refugee Week 2020.

Jonathan Ellis

2002 – 2005
STAR trustee and then friend of STAR
Current job: Project Director at Detention Forum and national Chair at City of Sanctuary

How and why did you get involved in STAR?

I’d been involved with Oxfam campaigning against asylum vouchers, and when I left Oxfam I wanted to stay connected with the energy in the refugee sector. I’d been impressed by STAR led then by Elly Hargreave and was delighted to join as a trustee.

What impact did you see STAR have on your community?

I saw your impact in many ways. Initially, your energy to get behind the anti-vouchers campaign in 2000-1. Then your energy to get more involved in campaigning. Then at the Refugee Council, we led a General Election campaign with Liberty in 2010 – and STAR was the real success behind this campaign. And then on the access to higher education campaign – in my time at the Refugee Council, we started a discussion on this issue – but it was your energy which helped it to take off and flourish. And now at City of Sanctuary, I love how many of your groups are connected with our local groups in creating a local culture of welcome.

What is your favourite thing about STAR?

Your energy, passion, and desire to get things done!

What impact did STAR have on your life or on what you do now?

I love STAR. I have always sought a connection with you in whatever I have been doing from Oxfam, to Refugee Council, to Red Cross, to City of Sanctuary and now at Detention Forum. And I hope to see STAR groups getting more involved in the campaigning to challenge the use of immigration detention.

What message would you like to give the current STAR students?

As a student myself in Durham, I cherished this quote: Keep true to the dreams of your youth – Friedrich Schiller
Now several years on, I like to think I have done so. And I encourage you to do so too!

Posted by STAR team on 17/06/2020 at 06:00 PM