ERC Updates

From the Director of Identity

World Fair Trade Day May 14
As we are highlighting the touchstone of Justice and Solidarity, and, inspired by the recent Tread Lightly campaign, I wanted to recommend the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Guide. We all buy clothes and it is important to know whether our clothes are enslaving others. One way to be in solidarity with those in the garment industry is to ensure that we are buying ethically sourced and made clothes. Check out the grades for your favourite brand!

Solidarity Sleep Out – 1000 Days Too Long

In 2018 Dr. Javed Badyari and a number of other supporters from our community established a group called Doctors for Refugees, who chose to sleep out in the Mall to show their solidarity for the situation of refugees and asylum seekers being held in detention centres waiting to immigrate to Australia. They vowed to do this for as long as was necessary to change the policy of Indefinite Detention, and did so for over 100 nights. The onset of COVID necessitated a change of location to the participants’ backyards and verandahs, and they were gradually joined by a number of other supporters including Grandparents for Refugees.
Dr. Jav has spoken with our students during the last couple of Winter Sleepout events that we have done, and shared his story and those of some of the people he is advocating for. On Monday this week, it was the 1000th day of this initiative, and many of our students and staff were moved to do something to show our support for the incredible commitment that these people had demonstrated through their compassionate actions on behalf of those who did not have a voice. 24 students and staff slept out either on the floor or in their backyards on this thousandth night. Here are some of their reflections:

“It’s a sad thing for me to see that people have come from such horrible circumstances and living conditions to move somewhere like Australia in hope of a good job and better life but instead they are detained and have to wait even longer before they can pass through the system and begin their journey to a normal life. I’d love to take the opportunity to do anything I can to help”. (Sam Stevin – Yr 7)
“I am doing this because no one deserves to be kept in detention because of where they come from”. (Rhys Barnes – Yr 8)
“I’ve participated in the sleepout every year since coming to this school. This social justice issue is something I feel passionate about and it comes with great pride par-taking and seeing others doing so.” (Caiden Steele – Yr 10)
“I feel that refugees and asylum seekers are treated too harshly and that the government isn’t doing anything to fix it or help.” (Leo Halios-Lewis – Yr 7)
“I am taking this action as a way to express my respect for Dr Javed who has been sleeping outside, as a sign of solidarity for asylum seekers, for the past 1000 days. I am also taking part as it is a great opportunity to bring up and discuss the issue of asylum seekers in indefinite detention and complete some CSL Hours.” (Matthew Carolan – Yr 10)
“I cannot imagine what it would be like to have escaped an unsafe country to be put in indefinite detention in another country. So I believe that this is a good cause.” (Joshua Newman – Yr9)
“I’m choosing to take this action, because I participated in the sleepout last year, and it gave me a better understanding of more unspoken issues in the world. It highlights how we can work together to bring more awareness towards world issues, including the ones in our own communities.” (Atilla Yalcin – Yr 8)
“Jav has committed to sleeping out now for 1000 days almost three years. I hope that his form of taking action in advocacy will create a change in how immigrants are treated, and I wish to support him in solidarity to show that there are those who believe that what he is doing is right. And that we hope by tomorrow he shouldn’t have to sleep out again”. (Christian Yeo – Yr 8)
“We went and saw Ahn Do on Thursday and listened to his story. I have begun to understand that refugees are people just like you and me. And these people should have the same rights as any other person. And one day they might be people that others look up to the same as any other privileged person. In 2022 people should not be treated like this as Australia is not a prisoner of war camp.” (Brynley Humphries – Yr 7)
“I want to experience or feel how other people don’t have any bed to sleep on, that is why I’m taking action.” (Christiano Haddad – Yr 8)
“To help refugees access Australia’s great land and not to have to sleep out for the rest of their lives.” (Andrew Silva – Yr 9)
“I am choosing to take this action because I want to stand with the Biloela Family and end their time in detention centres. I also deem this detention centre method unfair to the refugees who have done nothing and the politicians who keep them there for no apparent reason.” (Will Papandreas – Yr 7)
“It’s blatantly unethical and needlessly cruel to inflict more suffering on those who have already experienced massively traumatic and often tragic circumstances in their own countries and have done nothing other than seek a better, more just life for themselves and their families. Also – I have great respect and admiration for the courage and commitment that Dr Javed and his compatriots have demonstrated through their actions on behalf of others”. (Helen Knowles – Staff Member)

Mrs Hurley
Director of Identity