WE’LL WALK WITH YOU
On May the 13th, in the Mercy lecture theatre at the Melbourne campus of Australian Catholic University, a wonderful event took place, organised and presented by members of Young Mercy Links.
The organising committee chose the title of We’ll Walk With You as the evening’s aim was to help those in attendance to become better equipped to support those seeking asylum in Australia.
The evening began with a dramatic retelling of one person’s real journey to Australia. This was eye opening and thought provoking, and encouraged the audience to reflect on the dangers many people face, before making the difficult decision to flee their home country.
This was followed by an interactive session run by Hannah Carr and Sheelagh Purdon from the Asylum Seekers Recourse Centre (ASRC). They engaged the audience in really meaningful conversations, touching on possible reasons why so many Australians lack empathy toward and even seem to fear Asylum seekers. Sheelagh and Hannah spoke about just a few of the countless human stories behind this issue. The speakers also addressed some of the facts surround the cost of Offshore Detention, in contrast to the benefits of community integration.
Frank from Edmund Rice Community & Refugee Services (ERCRS), spoke about the incredibly important work this group carries out, with the help of their dedicated volunteers. With the aim of giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds opportunities and support, ERCRS run homework clubs, tutoring programs and school and mentoring programs. The audience was given insight into just how rewarding it can be to assist these children who are eager to learn.
The final speaker for the night, Hilly Montague, introduced us all to the #WHYICARE movement. The Movement’s aim is to provoke conversation within communities all around Australia and to communicate to politicians, in all political parties, that we in fact do care about Refugees and Asylum seekers. The challenge was set; to come up with a response to the question ‘Why do you care?’ and to share this with as many people as possible. By sharing genuine human stories and our own genuine compassion the #WHYICARE movement encourages us to remove some of fear and apathy surrounding the topic.
The excellent range of speakers was matched by the diverse people in the 50 strong audience. In attendance were students from numerous universities, parents and students from Sacred Heart College, Kyneton and OLMC Heidelberg. Those who attended were all left feeling inspired by the current work being carried out to support refugees and asylums seekers. As well as this, we have been empowered to continue the conversations with family, friends and colleagues, write to our politicians and volunteer with programs where possible.
Congratulations to Nathan Pierce, Kaitlyn Krahe and Elisa Bolzonello, who worked tirelessly to put the evening together. The way in which they hosted the evening was both engaging and professional. A big thank-you also goes to Bernadette Inman Young Mercy Links Coordinator and Margaret Moore RSM for their assistance in making the evening run smoothly. Their belief in the Young Mercy Links team gives us the drive to continue to work for change.
NEWS FLASH: One of our members, Nathan Pierce, has created a website for Young Mercy Links. This was done after receiving feedback from current and prospective members that as a group we are hard to find on the internet. There will now be a link to the site on the Institute website or you can go direct to yml.org.au.
Messages to: Bernadette Inman