REFUGEE WEEK 2021

Dear Friends,

With Refugee Week (Sunday 20th June – Saturday 26th June 2021) just around the corner we have listed a number of activities and actions that you can take to help support and advocate for people seeking asylum and refugees. And remember that the Refugee Council of Australia website also has a number of activities and events that you can take part in next week. Our first item is also about a new memorial event to recognise all those who have tragically  died on our streets due to being homeless.

1. Sydney Homeless Memorial Day – 21 June 2021@ 6:30pm
The 21st of June is the longest night of the year, also known as the winter solstice. On this day, we commemorate all individuals who have died while experiencing homelessness in the past year. A Homeless Memorial Service is being held to honour and remember those who have died on the streets and in the shelters of Sydney. Sadly, for many homeless who have died during Covid, this is their only commemoration. The hope is also to bring our community’s attention to the need to end street sleeping as well as the plight experienced by homeless people especially during the cold winter months, when high numbers of deaths occur. We welcome all affected by homelessness: victims, carers, family, friends, outreach workers, nurses and community. Please see the attached flyer.

Date: Monday 21 June 2021 @ 6:30pm
Location: Peace Park – adjacent to St Canice’s, 28 Roslyn St, Elizabeth Bay

2. Holy Name of Mary Hunters Hill and Jesuit Refugee Service Event 22 June 2021 @ 7:30pm
Hunters Hill Parish Social Justice Group, together with Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, invites you to an information evening promoting awareness ahead of Refugee Week 2021. The theme for refugee week is Unity and we are delighted to welcome our guest speaker, Magdalene, from Sierra Leone who will share with us her lived experience of seeking asylum. Magdalene, a sports journalist, came to Australia seeking asylum in 2018 after facing danger and death threats because of her activism against female oppression in her home country of Sierra Leone. In Australia, Magdalene continues to use her journalism skills and passion to advocate for the rights of her community. Please join them for an evening of light refreshments and an evening of information, Q&A and reflection. Please see the attached flyer for full details.
Date: Tuesday 22nd June 2021 @ 7:30pm
Venue: Parish Hall, Mary Street, Hunters Hill
Cost: $10, BYO Wine.
Bookings essential: Please register here.

3. Refugee Week Webinar: United for Freedom – Hosted by Vinnies – 23 June 2021
Refugee week is an opportunity to celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees and people seeking asylum in our communities, and to raise awareness of the barriers they encounter. While Vinnies has long supported people arriving in Australia seeking safety and looking to rebuild their lives, political decisions continue to result in poverty and exclusion.

The Refugee Week 2021 theme of “Unity – The Way Forward”, reminds us that only by working together can we build a more cohesive community. A community that upholds the rights, freedoms and safety that refugees and people seeking asylum deserve in order to flourish in Australia.
As part of St Vincent de Paul Society’s commitment to the 150 Days of Action for People Seeking Refuge, join us as we learn from Society people and our partner agencies about the ongoing challenges facing people seeking asylum and the power of collective action. Please register here.

4. 150 Days of Action Campaign for People Seeking Asylum and Refugees
As we have mentioned in previous emails, inspired by Pope Francis’ declaration that this will be the year of St Joseph a number of primarily Catholic organisations have come together to embark on a 150 Days of Action Campaign for people seeking asylum and refugees under the banner of St. Joseph the refugee. The campaign began on the 1st of May (Feast of St Joseph the Worker) and will end on 26 September, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in the Catholic Church with a Day of Lamentation and call. You can read more about the campaign here, sign the petition with our demands of the government here, download and send a template letter to your federal MP with our advocacy actions (including abolishing temporary protection visas and providing a safe and permanent path to resettlement) or look at ways your school or group can take action.  If you do take any action as part of this campaign, please let us know.

5. Sydney Alliance Winter Appeal: Refugee Leadership Fund
Many of you will be familiar with the Sydney Alliance and in particular they have done with and on behalf of people seeking asylum in Australia. Despite the Federal Government’s harsh policies towards people seeking protection, the Sydney Alliance’s method of working has bring about creative solutions that make a tangible difference in the lives of those seeking protection here. Some of those successes include concession card travel for people seeking asylum, places in TAFE so others in their community can develop their skills and contribute to their new home, and places in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Centres for children seeking asylum to support improve the child’s prospects on entering school and enabling families to rebuild their lives (the ECEC campaign is still ongoing so if you can help out please contact ruth.moraes@sydneycatholic.org) .

Since 2017, leaders with lived experience have stepped up to reshape the public’s understanding of what it’s like to be a refugee in Australia through sharing their stories with more than 11,000 people across Sydney.  Last year, three organisers from diverse refugee communities worked in the peak of the pandemic to support their communities. This incredible work was funded by a $15,000 donation from a generous Sydneysider and served as the inspiration for the creation of a refugee leadership fund that supports more organisers with lived experience of seeking protection to develop their skills, strategise and act for a better future for people seeking asylum in Sydney. If you would like to donate to this fund, please do so here: https://www.sydneyalliance.org.au/appeal1.

6. Webinar on lockdowns and lockups: lessons (not) learnt on immigration detention in Europe – Webinar Hosted by JRS (UK) – 22 June 2021
The panellists are Michele LeVoy and Marta Gionocoa, Kim Ehnholt, Claudia Bonamini and Jose Ignacio Garcia SJ, Revijara Oosterhuis and Ruben Bruynooghe. This webinar on detention will take place on Tuesday 22 June 2021 from 12:00 to 13:30 CET  (the time may not suit but a recording may be available afterwards)
Registration deadline: Friday 18 June 2021 EOD
The language of the meeting is English and we will offer interpretation in French and Spanish.
Should you have any questions, please contact Marta Gionco at marta.gionco@picum.org.
To confirm your attendance, please fill out the registration form clicking Register Now.
To find out more and to register please visit the JRS Europe website.

If you do end up doing something in your parish for Refugee Week, please let us know as we would love to hear about it!

Blessings,
JPO Team

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