Images: (left to right) Matuse; Little Hunta; Munk of Renegades of Munk; Brotha Black.
In 2008 Kevin Rudd, then Prime Minister, said “Sorry” to the Stolen Generation. This was a symbolic move to apologise for all of the harm that was been inflicted on to the Indigenous population since the British invaded in 1788. It was meant to represent a new beginning towards harmony and reconciliation. In 2015, 8 years on from Rudd’s “Sorry” have we as a nation moved forward to embody a new age of unity and harmony or are we regressing and living in a land of hypocrisy instead?
Unfortunately, we are most definitely the latter. Tony Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister, has made it abundantly clear that his position is a regressive one when it comes to the Indigenous population. His comments “that in 1788 it was nothing but bush” that the “marines, convicts and sailors…must have thought they had come to the Moon, everything would have seemed so extraordinarily basic and raw and now…a country that is free, fair and prosperous’ harkened back to the now overturned position of ‘terra nullius’ declared by British forces when arriving to Australia (stating there were no inhabitants therefore the land was free to claim).
Tony Abbott also seems to be stalling on the constitutional recognition of Indigenous population, and staving off the vote until 2017. Perhaps such stalling is related to the Recognise campaign’s recent poll which showed that if voted on today the constitutional reform would most definitely pass.
These opinions are not Tony Abbott’s alone, but instead represent a wider ignorant understanding from the non-Indigenous population on what the land, the people and the 1788 invasion means to the Indigenous population.
While Reconciliation Week (May 27- June 3) is about reconciling with Indigenous peoples, the Western Australian government is hypocritically cutting off needed services, such as water, to Indigenous roughly 150 communities in remote areas. The WA Premier may state that he is not breaching any UN conventions. However, by creating an environment which is cut off from essential services, he is effectively forcing them off their rightful land.
In its Rights for Indigenous Peoples the UN states that the Indigenous population of any land have the right to live their life as they see fit, according to their own laws, spirituality and education. This includes the ability to live as they please on their land. After invading over 220 years ago, and nearly committing genocide on an entire nation of people, it would seem that to create true Reconciliation basic services and allowing Indigenous peoples to define themselves and their Sacred Sites as they see fit is the least that could be done?
Join the Recognise campaign today.
On April 25-26th the Build Peace Conference 2015 was held in Nicosia (Lefkosia), “the last divided capital in the world,” Cyprus. The conference brought together like-minded individuals and organisations to learn from each other how contemporary technologies can be used for peace building.
The setting for this amazing function was to be within the UN administered zone Ledra Palace, on the Turkish Occupied side at the Bedestan and Buyuk Han and within some very modern centers in Greek-Cyprus at 10:10 and CVAR.
There were individual talks, short talks, Q&A sessions, working labs, panel discussions and multiple receptions and the 250 participants were able to interact and gain knowledge on the various projects happening in different contexts, under extreme technology constraints, including: how to use social media to the most benefit; how to entice Users to participate; and how not-for-profit organisations can achieve maximum success to attain their peace outcomes.
From All Together Now’s perspective the discussions and talks on social media, Peacebuilding: A Hands-On Experience presented by Derek Gildea from PeaceTech Lab and issues about changing behaviours through ICTs was particularly useful. Another area of interest and indeed the most surprising and astonishing was during the Build Peace Conference artist space Together Separate: Contesting Space. The art project run by Jason Meek and Roseline de Thelin used movement and dance to interpret and understand what living divided can mean for either side of the divide. It encouraged participants and watchers to see the importance of culture and what it means to a community. This engagement made not only the situation in Cyprus clearer but also to understand migrant communities and cultural interaction on a larger social scale.
The conference also saw All Together Now accept the PEACEApp award for the Everyday Racism mobile phone app, which was sponsored by UNAOC and Build Up.
All Together Now would like to thank PEACEApp, Build Up, UNAOC, UNDP and Games for Change for their support of the Everyday Racism mobile phone app and the continued support and mentoring they will give in the months and years to come. All Together Now cannot wait to release the next version of the Everyday Racism app and we will ensure to keep you updated on the development of this new educational app for primary schools.
All Together Now would also like to congratulate the other winners and wish them the best of success in their peace building efforts.
For anyone within the field of peace building who would like to apply for this award in 2016 you can do so through their PEACEApp website: http://www.unaoc.org/peaceapp-blog/peaceapp-now-open-for-submissions/
Harmony Day intends to encourage messages of inclusion by adopting the approach of everyone identifying and then celebrating their ethnic and cultural heritage. This year’s theme of Everyone Belongs, was an important message to send.
On Harmony Day this year there was one particular event which I attended that really spoke of inclusion and exemplified this year’s theme that ‘everyone belongs’. It was, interestingly enough, a Hip Hop festival designed for all age groups that took place in Bankstown, New South Wales.
The 4Elements HipHop All-Ages Festival (which is set to run again during Youth Week in April) was designed to bring people of all-ages and ethnic and cultural heritages to embrace unity and acceptance as well as awareness of the socio-political climate in Australia (particularly in Western Sydney). Hip Hop became the platform and framework by which to discuss all of these elements as it is inherently a musical form about acceptance, belonging and harmony.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
During Harmony Week, All Together Now worked with Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) to create the #EraseRacism round over the weekend 20-22 March.
The initiative highlighted the commitment of the Hyundai A-League and the players at all clubs in ensuring that racism has no place in the league, football generally or Australian society.
All Together Now’s volunteers distributed 7,500 purple wristbands over the weekend to fans attending the five games, to spark conversations about erasing racism. From this perspective it was a highly successful campaign.
Harmony Week begins March 16 to 22 this year, and is a national week that celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity, encouraging acceptance all around the nation. The aim of the week is to promote intercultural understanding and peace, with the slogan ‘Everybody Belongs’ embodying the message of Harmony Week.
Such festivities allow us to recognise the importance of tolerance and Harmony Week acts as a reminder of the many advantages of multiculturalism that have shaped our nation. It is about community participation, inclusiveness, diversity, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Harmony Week is a way to build understanding and acceptance, which are stepping-stones to an Australia without discrimination.
Each year, there are a number of activities you can participate in during Harmony Week. These include:
1. Taste of Harmony
Taste of Harmony is a delicious way to celebrate diversity in Australian workplaces. Through this initiative, colleagues are encouraged to bring food to share, along with stories from different cultural backgrounds.
There’s no fundraising or fee involved – simply register online, choose a date within Harmony Week and ask your workmates to bring a dish to share!
2. Recipes for Harmony
Similar to Taste of Harmony, Recipes for Harmony encourages groups to bring together cultural recipes and dishes – but this time, for children!
This program is both interactive and educational, and brings together for children a range of online resources featuring recipes, personal stories and cultural profiles. Children are introduced to a world – literally, a world – of stories and recipes. Again, make sure you register online in order to receive the resources and promotional products.
3. ‘Living in Harmony Festival’ – Sydney
Held from March 1 to March 31, the Living in Harmony Festival is an annual festival that promotes cross-cultural understanding and celebrates diversity within Sydney. Ranging from afternoon tea events to talent shows and to film screenings, the festival acknowledges the multiculturalism that abounds within Sydney.
There are activities for people of all ages, so be sure to check it out! The full guide is available for download here.
4. Harmony Day
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Harmony Day, and is typically celebrated on March 21. Harmony Day is a chance for you to bring people together. If you would like to participate, you must plan an event, register it and then share it on social media, using the #harmonyday. Each year, Harmony Day is marked by people coming together and participating in local activities, ranging from a small morning tea or a huge community event. Don’t be afraid to be creative!
Will you be celebrating Harmony Week this year? And if so, how? Let us know in the comments below!
Ahead of this weekend’s Erase Racism Round Bruce Djite discusses his passion for the joint FFA and PFA initiative and shares his insights into the invaluable work undertaken by All Together Now.
Q. Is this a cause you had long been passionate about?
BD: I have an interesting background, this is owing to where I have lived and have grown up and I have no doubt it is a blessing. I think it really helps you to see many situations from all different angles and you have a better understanding of what people are trying to say or do in different scenarios. One of the great benefits of embracing diversity is that diversity really opens up your mind. For me it comes naturally because of my background and the multiple countries I have lived in. I really believe in what All Together Now is doing and I am sure the organization is making some real changes to people’s lives. There is no place for racism in Australian football or the broader community and that is something I’m really passionate about.
Q. What role does football have to play in erasing racism from Australia?
BD: Football has always been a leader in a global sense. It would be silly for a game as diverse, dynamic and global as football to not use its significant presence to leverage that and try to make the community that we live in better, it would be a big miss if we didn’t try.
Q. Has football had a big impact on your views and beliefs?
BD: Football being such a multicultural sport broadens your horizons. As an example the last couple of years I have learnt a lot about Spain and different regions there, like Catalonia where the Catalan people are eager to have independence. I have heard it said before that if the world was a book then not travelling would be like reading just one page. You can choose to live in a bubble and be ignorant or you can choose to truly experience life. Football certainly helps individuals do just that.
Q. How do we ensure the Erase Racism Round has its greatest impact?
BD: The best and most effective way for any impact to be had is for the players to buy into it and I believe the players have done that. My understanding is the players are keen about this initiative. If we can engage the fans and the fans actively play their part in this round in particular as well as within society in general then we are well on the way on making a really positive impact on society.
Q. Why are the fans so important to the Erase Racism Round?
BD: The fans are the key stakeholders in all aspects of the game, including this round. As the key stakeholders their engagement is essential in what we are trying to achieve, which is a more tolerant Australia.
Q. Finally, how important is the Erase Racism Round for All Together Now?
BD: This is massive for the organisation. All Together Now is a charity, which is built on the good work of generous volunteers and is punching above its weight. From All Together Now’s perspective it’s all about using any money raised to not only enhance their current projects but also to create more programs and initiatives that are imperative to increasing society’s awareness. All Together Now’s projects and initiatives help create a more tolerant society. Money raised is just one metric of what we are trying to achieve. At the end of the day we are ultimately trying to make people more tolerant and to highlight the many benefits of multiculturalism, if we can do that that will be a big win. That is the end game.
Interview by Football Federation of Australia