Together we can change the media story, by showing what is ordinary and great about everyday life in Moss Side, Manchester.@WeAreMossSide, 2017
Why “We Are Moss Side”?
Parents and youth workers here have long said how important it is for children and young people to have a positive sense of where they live and come from. It’s important for adults too.
In 2017 people were prompted to say it again, but in frustration. Manchester City Council’s ward boundary changes, and a much-criticised article in The Guardian newspaper, both showed that even those we might trust, can still take it in the opposite direction and then duck the challenging questions.
This small collaborative project was inspired by an event at Hideaway that challenged the Guardian journalist, and several discussions at the Windrush Centre after the boundary changes. One suggested name for the project was “Love Moss Side”. Reasons for the current name included:
- When we celebrate good things about life in Moss Side, and the great friends and neighbours who live here, we could sometimes reflect with pride: “Yes, We are Moss Side”.
- When lazy journalists present Moss Side as a negative stereotype based on an uprising 40 years ago that they do not understand or explain, and then report crimes that either didn’t happen here or were done here by outsiders, we need to say, “No, We are Moss Side: you are talking about us, our community and our home”.
- When estate agents and the universities’ own lettings agency “Manchester Student Homes” pretend we are Rusholme: we say in truth “We are Moss Side” and welcome our new neighbours. When property developers claim it’s Whalley Range to raise prices, we join the Moss Side Community Allotments to say in truth “We are Moss Side“.
- “We are Moss Side” is an expression of solidarity at moments when its needed, like “I’m with Kaepernick” and “Je suis Charlie”. It’s not literal, it’s in support.
Aims of WeAreMossSide
The 2017 website had these three aims:
- This is a site to enable all of us who live and work in Moss Side to change what we see and read when we search for anything about Moss Side online.
- It’s an opportunity for us to share with each other and with others elsewhere, what is ordinary and great about everyday life in Moss Side, Manchester.
- Right now  we’re also challenging Manchester City Councils’ plans, by showing the whole country that MCC broke the rules to change the ward boundaries across Manchester, and strip Moss Side of the new houses and its beautiful Whitworth Park and £15m funded Art Gallery.
The positive messages
This new MossSideStory.uk site has those first two goals, so we are glad to become part of it. By connecting a range of local community-led projects, by inspiring individuals and groups to post on the site, and with improved technology and professional expertise, it can make Moss Side events, groups, news and writing more visible on search engines than was possible before.
With its name “MossSideStory” the site of course takes head-on the challenge to change what appears online when you search Moss Side S… If we all keep adding posts with good local content we will together achieve it. We ask everyone who cares about Moss Side to get behind this MossSideStory.uk project and create good searchable content.
The public record
The third aim too remains. WeAreMossSide will maintain the public record of the 2017 Manchester City Council Ward Boundary scandal here, with all the original documents. It is about holding MCC to account until there is an acknowledgement of what was done across the city of Manchester, and a believable commitment to reverse it here in Moss Side and to change the institutional culture that made it possible.
That public record can hopefully also help citizens / voters elsewhere to anticipate and prevent other councils doing the same.
Given the evident need for occasional critique as well as a positive focus, for now, those researching, writing and tweeting for WeAreMossSide will remain anonymous.
Follow and post
The Twitter @WeAreMossSide has built 500+ followers locally and across the UK. We have aimed to engage on interesting and relevant issues, connect with those here and elsewhere who are trying to find ways forward, help to speak truth to power when needed, and share what is challenging and great about everyday life here. It is careful to relay interesting voices on relevant issues, not offer anonymous opinion.
Please follow us on Twitter @WeAreMossSide if you don’t already, alongside @MossSideStory which will focus more on events happening locally. Please think too of posting something on this MossSideStory site – from activities, projects and events, to historic photos, to oral histories, to local achievements or useful services, to whatever interests you and may interest others locally.