• 12 APR 19
    • 0
    Community seeks radical empathy this election

    Community seeks radical empathy this election

    From four-year old’s to 70 year old’s, over 200 of Melbourne’s community joined ASRC’s Info Night: election campaign launch to Change the Policy on asylum.

    The first half of the evening focused on speakers with diverse expertise and stories from the ASRC, including CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns Jana favero, Volunteer Manager Peter Callendar, Organising Manager Bella Weeks, Campaigns Manager Marcella Brassett, Organiser Ahmad Hakim and advocate Akuol Garang.

    In the second half, people signed up for long term volunteer positions, student groups and election actions such as:

    Stop&Dials

    High impact advocacy where a group of activists will hit the streets and mobilise the community to call and write to election candidates in that electorate on the spot. This will ensure we flood political leaders’ offices with messages to Change the Policy for people seeking asylum.

    Our key policy ask for candidates is to restore life saving SRSS (support services) for all people seeking asylum waiting for asylum applications.

    Scheduled stop and dials are:

    When: 13th of April and 11th of May 10am-3pm.
    Where: 361 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne
    Contact Liyan to RSVP: 0422 065 612

    Whatsapp tree

    To receive and share powerful stories to amplify voices of people from migrant and refugee background on what they are voting for or asking for this election.

    I’m voting for values – people took photos for social media holding up a sign with the values they are voting for this election, for example diversity, compassion, human rights and so on. This campaign will continue and focus on activists from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Content will be posted on ASRC social media and via the Whatsapp Tree.

    We are also asking people to email their MP to commit to policy changes to support a permanent, safe home for people seeking asylum.

    I’m voting for values

    People took photos for social media holding up a sign with the values they are voting for this election, for example diversity, compassion, human rights and so on. This campaign will continue and focus on activists from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Content will be posted on ASRC social media and via the Whatsapp Tree.

    To be in a video email: emma.m2@asrc.org.au

    We are also asking people to email their MP to commit to policy changes to support a permanent, safe home for people seeking asylum.

     

    Powerful words of inspiration

    Founder and CEO of the ASRC, Kon Karapanagiotidis, greeted our audience, including members of the Hazara, South Sudanese and Pakistani communities and  2016 Australian of the Year, Gary Lee, with a message of radical empathy.

    The threat isn’t in the mosque, and it’s not at our shores. It’s coming from the language of our elected political leaders that dehumanises people of colour, said Kon.

    “Whether it’s our ancestors, parents or many of us right now, we have crossed oceans to make this country home. This is our collective story. And we now need to ask ourselves, who do we collectively want to be?”

    “This election is an important one and we need people do as much as they can to roll up their sleeves and change the policy on asylum.”

    In response to the upcoming election Kon characterised Australia at a crossroads. “We need to change the conversation on politics of hate and fear, and counter it with radical empathy and love.”

    “How we treat people seeking asylum and speak to the issues they face, is not a political issue, it’s a humanitarian one. And it’s these shared values of humanity and compassion that we’ll be voting for this election.”

    Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero, further emphasised Australia’s crossroad. “Election years are important. They provide us a chance to put a spotlight on fair and compassionate policies.”

    “I’ve worked at the ASRC for nine years now, and I’m more than aware that change is hard. But there is a huge tipping point that we’re now at. I’m seeing people across the community fed up with offshore processing and the government’s misinformation on how people are being treated.”

    “They’re listening to the community and being far more willing to introduce fair policy for people seeking asylum.”

    “Because of the successive wins from communities to get all kids off Nauru and pass the Medevac Laws, political parties are now fully on notice. They’re listening to the community and being far more willing to introduce fair policy for people seeking asylum.”

    “This election is an important one and we need people do as much as they can to roll up their sleeves and change the policy on asylum.”

    ASRC’s campaigns and organising team laid out what these actions involved. We need thousands and thousands of people in the marginal electorates to talk to their candidates, said Bella Week, Organising Manager.

    “This means signing up to join stop and dials to ensure voters  in these electorates phone their local candidates or write them a letter.

    “It means creating a powerful social media movement to shift attitudes and narratives with the I’m voting for values and the  Whattsapp Tree to amplify the voices of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in the election.

    “It also means joining like minded individuals in a local group to meet with  local candidates and communicate the values and policy issues you’ll be voting for this election: repespect, compassion and fairness.”

    It didn’t take long before dozens had signed onto Whatsapp groups, stop and dial actions, and close to the entire room taking photos with signs saying “I’m voting for” the core values driving their vote this election.

    Organiser Ahmad Hakim and advocate Akuol Garang closed the evening with moving, powerful calls to action to support communities from refugee backgrounds this election, with Akuol saying: “ We need to change people’s minds” about people seeking asylum who arrived by sea.

    Our community activists left ready to campaign for the election with a strong commitment to radical empathy and low tolerance for division. It’s exciting to see people put their values into action to change the policy on asylum and build a powerful community movement.

    Take action with us.

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