Frankie’s Story | “All we want is to be treated with respect and fairness, just like anyone else."

Frankie was born in the UK, grew up in Spain and now lives in Brussels. He’s volunteering with the Young Europeans Network, making use of his expertise in International Relations to advocate for young Europeans in the UK.

“In June 2019, I was working for an airline as a cabin crew, based in a European capital and travelling quite a lot. It was a beautiful, dynamic place to live, and every day I was learning something new.

2019 Budapest Pride. This day was a great example of togetherness and resilience in order to fight for LGBTQI+ and human rights in the region.

However, day to day, I could feel the tense atmosphere that the far right government of this country was bringing to my life. I was friends with people from all over the world, and we were mistreated: some, because of the colour of their skin, others because they were part of the LGBTQI+ community.

When the pandemic hit, a friend from the Philippines was waiting for her bus when people verbally abused her because they perceived her as Asian. The bus driver didn’t open the door.

We were all feeling unsafe and afraid.

I’ve seen how a far right government’s hostile environment towards immigrants affects people. It’s made me passionate about speaking up and standing for our rights. There are too many places across Europe where these extreme views are gaining traction.

My family is international - my mum is from England, my dad is Spanish. My sister still lives in the UK and I visit regularly, and my parents live in Spain. I studied translation and interpreting, and I’ve always had a passion for languages, politics and current affairs. I’m a curious person, I want to understand how countries cooperate with each other and the external factors that affect our world. I now live in Brussels, where I’ve studied International Relations and I am now working supporting human rights organisations.

“Shoes on the Danube” memorial - representing the Jewish people murdered on the riverbank by Facist militia. Created by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer

At the end of the day, people move to make life better for themselves and their families. Young people like me should be encouraged to take opportunities for personal development, wherever they can, expand their horizons and reach their full potential. All we want is to live in safe and healthy communities, and be treated with respect and fairness, just like anyone else.

In this post-Brexit world, I want to contribute as much as I can to protecting EU citizens’ rights in the UK, and work towards building a community and society which values the contributions of young people such as myself and my family.

Find out more about the Young Europeans Network

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