As we emerge from a week focused on celebrating refugees, how will we continue to live out the values of a welcoming community?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. What a time we’ve had marking National Reconciliation Week 2020.
We’ve witnessed amazing solidarity and support:
- Huge turn outs at rallies all over Australia to support the call to Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and speaking out against systemic racism,
- Numerous people getting educated and writing letters to call out the injustice of Aboriginal deaths in custody and incarceration rates,
- $20,000 raised from our generous community believing in a 2020 vision to employ a campaigner for Common Grace’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice work! We are now half way to our stretch goal of $40,000 and you can still support this vision by giving here.
We’ve witnessed distressing injustice:
- the loss of 46,000 years of history with the destruction of sacred sites,
- watching the world grapple with systemic racism and injustice, there’s so much more work for justice to be done,
- obfuscation and accusation of political leaders instead of listening to the heart cries of thousands.
Personally it’s been a very difficult and yet also a wonderful week.
I wrote this poem "We Can't Breathe" in 2018 and filmed it this weekend to highlight Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. It captures some of my feelings about the last days.
Now that National Reconciliation Week 2020 and the vigils are now over (until the next one) - what will you do next? Here's 3 easy steps to take:
- Get Educated
Learn more about Aboriginal deaths in custody. We have plenty of resources here. Commit to learning the names and story of three Aboriginal people who have died in custody.
- Take action
Write a letter to the Minister for Police and Minister for Corrections in your State and Territory speaking of your concern about Aboriginal deaths in custody. We’ve provided a template letter and contact details here. If you have already written, why not write to your local member, State Premier, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. If you have already written and haven’t received a reply follow up by writing again or making a phone call.
- Cover it all in prayer
I’ve been reminded in this last week of answering the call of Aunty Jean Phillips and praying to #ChangeTheHeart of Australia. Through your support and encouragement I believe more than ever that change is coming. I was personally encouraged by re-reading this summary of the Sydney #ChangeTheHeart Service by Lilly Smith, who by coincidence sat beside me at the service. I pray it may remind you of where we have been together, where we hope to go, and for those that weren’t able to attend to lean into 3,000 small felt hearts held in 3,000 sets of hands - “from little things, big things grow”.
Yours in Walking Together,
P.S. Don’t miss our Earth Day event tomorrow night and Refugee Week coming soon. Refugee Week is from 14-20 June on the theme of welcome. There will be daily devotions over the week for you to listen, connect, and advocate as we love our Asylum Seeker and Refugee neighbours, brothers, and sisters. More info coming soon!