In the face of relentless geopolitical violence and polarisation on the fundamental human rights of First Peoples, the work of building strong communities has never been more critical.
Over 60 per cent of Australians voted ‘no’ in the Referendum on the Voice to Parliament. Diaspora communities are gripped by grief and horror at the profound loss of life and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Russia-Ukraine war enters its 21st month. These events currently grab our attention and headlines, as they should. However, we shouldn’t forget the struggles of Afghan, Iranian and Horn of Africa communities (among others) both here and for their families abroad.
At Welcoming Australia, we have been reflecting on how the value of connection and coming together (especially in person) remains our most significant opportunity and hope. This year, we’ve been involved in coordinated gatherings in San José, Berlin, Brisbane, Logan, Melbourne, Mildura, Munich, and Toowoomba.
Whether hosting international partners, building organisational capacity, understanding local challenges, or sharing leading practice, the overarching purpose was to recognise our similarities rather than our differences and the power of pursuing belonging for all, not just some.
This is more than the ‘right thing to do’: we face an existential crisis.
Dehumanisation, valuing the lives of some more than others, and failing to address injustices are not serving us well. We must resist fear and do better.
Fear and polarisation dictate that we close our doors and turn our backs. Belonging for all requires us to open our hearts, minds and hands and ask, “How can we work together?”