Australia is marked with the beauty of diversity. People from many backgrounds, ethnicities and beliefs call this land home. Over the last several years I have had reservations about the treatment of asylum seekers, especially children in detention. The current harsh treatment of destitute people, seeking safety on our shores for a variety of reasons, does not reflect the beauty and depth of a society that embraces and celebrates diversity. There have been many reports about the detrimental impact of detention on the welfare of children and asylum seekers. As a follower of Jesus, and as a minister who believes that the church is called to exist as a faithful witness in the world, the abuse of children and the suffering of the destitute is not something I can stand and watch with indifference.
So on Saturday, 25 October, I will Walk Together with many other Australians across the nation to present a picture to our leaders and media that a different Australia is possible. Walk Together is an initiative of Welcome to Australia, which began as a conversation between a number of individuals and not-for-profit organisations who believed there needed to be a positive voice in the public conversation around asylum seeking, refugees and multiculturalism that was not politically aligned or focused on policy – but rather invited Australians to join us in dreaming of the Australia that could be. Adelaide pastor Brad Chilcott began to coordinate regular meetings of around a dozen representatives of these organisations in Adelaide, South Australia which lead to the initial 'Welcome Party' campaign in June 2011.
If you, like me, are concerned about the treatment of asylum seekers and children in detention, then consider taking a walk this Saturday. Details are available on the Welcome to Australia website.
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