The 31st January 2020 brought dark clouds to the South West of England - the place where I live and work.
I am one of millions of Europeans living and working in the UK who are asking themselves the question “should I stay or should I go”.
People’s relationships and marriages break down.
Depression and anxiety has increased.
The number of people in detention centres has gone up.
More and more people face being refused benefits when they make their claims.
Last summer, I had the chance to cycle from Somerset to Santiago De Compostela in Northern Spain.
It was just before Brexit and I did so to raise funds for the EU Green Card campaign.
I visited the homes of British people in France, Spain and Portugal on the way. I saw fear and anxiety in their hearts.
I witnessed real helplessness "over there" in the British community in France.
There was not much difference between the way they were feeling and what I was experiencing.
The only difference was that the British people I met were Europens who had left the UK whereas I was a European who had gone to live in the UK.
I was very pleased to be involved in all the activities New Europeans organised on Parliament Square and in front of Europe House on Brexit Day.
Being able to express our feelings and statements to international newspapers and TV stations meant a lot to me.
Lighting a candle with our European and British friends will remain a very important and meaningful memory for me of that night.
Together with activists from New Europeans, we took a stand to make sure that 5 million people have their rights protected - Britons in the EU just as much as EU citizens in the UK.
Our rights have not yet fully been guaranteed and secured. That's why we stood there on that day to make sure people could hear our voice.
We had and have one simple message:
Don't Make Citizens Pay Price Of Brexit
About the author
Rafal Skarbek is an Equalities Champion in the South West and a fundraiser for the Green Card project.
About New Europeans
New Europeans is an award-winning civil rights organisation based in London and Brussels. It is a membership association working for a Europe of citizens, a Europe of equality, social justice, anchored in human rights.
Since 2013, New Europeans has been at the forefront of the fight to secure the rights of #the5million - EU citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU - post Brexit.