In 2014, two EREA teachers from Queensland, Matt Hawkins and Mark Ellison, got in touch with me to float an idea whose time had come; it was ERA for Change, or Edmund Rice Advocacy for Change. We are also conscious that an ERA is a period of time and we hope that our time will be remembered as the time we stepped up to really be people for others and the world. Our Edmund Rice schools had always been good at the charity side of social justice. Most of our schools serve students from families that can afford to donate money and goods to help the less fortunate. However, we had not really focussed on advocacy, the other ‘foot’ of social justice that can help us to walk towards a future where there will be less hunger, less poverty and less exploitation.
Our school leaders at the time decided that they wanted to adopt this concept in a formal way and as we were considering how student leadership was distributed, we created a portfolio not only for Social Justice that would lead charity events but also ERA for Change, to lead advocacy. This is perhaps the more challenging role as it calls people to consider how their own actions are impacting others and how they can use their voice to change the world.
This week our Identity student leaders have worked on two opportunities to step up and lead by example. I want to acknowledge Henry Jones who is the ERA for Change SRC rep in Year 10 fro presenting to his cohort on Thursday about the power of working together and why each of us has the responsibility to use our voice to make the world a better place, looking at Catholic Social teaching and the UN Declaration on Human Rights. Secondly, Zane Al-Salih, Patrick Sirianni, Marcus Henriques-Thakur and Sam Stevin have developed a lesson and opportunity for all students and staff to consider how their actions impact other life on the planet and even the climate.
From the student leaders: Clean up ERC extended pastoral lesson activity
Next week on Tuesday, August 15th students will be undertaking an SRC led homeroom activity centred around the EREA 28 days for climate change. This will include a 15 minute presentation surrounding climate change and care for the environment, followed by each year group making their way to an allocated area to collect rubbish. Students are encouraged to bring their own gardening gloves for the rubbish collection when we will focus on getting all the small bits of plastic and rubbish out of the grounds and then, hopefully, to keep it out.
Perhaps have a conversation with your child or children about how you can be more sustainable at home too. Every action adds to the effectiveness and if we all do our little bit, then it will have a bigger impact.
Director of Identity