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Thousands of voices call for justice

Nieve Walton |  22 May 2018

justice for refugeesWhen Nieve Walton joined her first Palm Sunday Walk for Justice in Melbourne earlier this year she had a chance to reflect on her beliefs about refugees and justice.

The closer I got to the State Library [the starting point for the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice in Melbourne] the more excited I became. Music was playing and the colourful crowd was full of people holding banners and wearing different T-shirts promoting their organisations.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first walk and I wanted to hear why people had chosen to spend their Sunday at the Walk for Justice. Despite being surrounded by hundreds of strangers there was a sense of community. Lawyer, comedian and television presenter Corinne Grant was emcee for the event and talked about seeing familiar faces. I realised for many people this is an annual event. Though disappointed the Walk for Justice had to be held again, Corinne made it clear it would continue until refugees were brought to Australia and treated justly.

There was a mix of people – students, teachers, nurses, people from political parties, different churches and religious groups, as well as refugee activist groups. At first, it was intimidating to be surrounded by so many knowledgeable and passionate justice for refugee activists, but it became clear they were there for similar reasons. They wanted to show support or refugees, advocate for peace and welcome people in need of help into the community.

Jasper and Harry, student leaders from St Bernard’s College, chose to wear their school uniform and carry their school banner. They wanted to ‘give a voice for people who don’t have one’, while Cathy from St John’s Uniting Church, Elsternwick, wanted to ‘campaign for peace [about] an issue that needs to be addressed’. Sara and Imogen from the Melbourne Student Union said, ‘these rallies have had a big impact in the past and it’s important to continue that [impact]’.

As we walked along the tram lines in a big square next to the State Library I realised how many people were at the walk. I felt part of a community that had the same goal of spreading awareness and giving people a voice. It cemented the idea that when people band together they can truly effect change. 

 

Topic tags: healthycommunitylife, socialjustice-australia

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