Scotland has a proud record of being a multicultural and welcoming country. The last few months, as the refugee crisis has escalated, we have seen this welcoming and empathetic culture at its very best.
A few weeks ago I joined a rally outside the Scottish Parliament, saying loudly and proudly that refugees are welcome here. Outside the Parliament were lined candles, messages of support and messages to David Cameron, condemning his poor response to some of the most vulnerable people in the world. I was proud to light a candle and immensely proud of the public response; young and old, of different cultures and different backgrounds, people coming together with one powerful voice. It is this collectivism and this inclusiveness that will always defeat bigotry and racism.
Scotland's response has been phenomenal. We have had families open the doors to refugees, volunteers collecting hundreds of bags and boxes of donations and fundraising pouring in. A particularly heartwarming response has come from our local authorities. Glasgow was the first UK city to accept Syrian refugees, In Edinburgh we've committed to support 100 refugees, in the Highlands 30 more, and these are just a few examples, there are countless more examples of solidarity.
Whether it was when Glasgow awarded the key to the city to Nelson Mandela or when crowds of public have lined the streets peacefully against the BNP or SDL, we have said no to racism before and I hope people across Scotland will continue to do so. We can never be complacent about bigotry, we can never assume that because we are tolerant others will be too. It is an activism that must be conveyed in or daily actions, we must all take it on ourselves to call out racism when we see it or hear it.
Silence condones it, our rallying and our protests condemn it.