Social Justice Awareness Day at St Peter’s Maitland

It was Social Justice Awareness Day last Thursday 21 September at All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus, Maitland.

Following a traditional Welcome to Country and blessing by Fr Joyce, the school community gathered for a morning liturgy focused on breaking down the barriers of racism and opening hearts to acceptance. 

All students were excited to engage in a Q&A session where panel members, Kalpana Rameshchandran (local community member), Fr Camillus (Chisholm Region), Mustafa Al-Mudafer (local business owner) and Polytra LiufalaniIn (student representative) discussed questions such as, ‘Do you think racism will ever cease to exist?’.

In Religious Studies, students have been discussing the issue of racism and were given the opportunity to submit questions to the panel members about race, culture and religion.

During the two sessions, the panel educated students from Years 7 to 10 in a powerful conversation of reflection and deep thought.

An Indian cultural display of food tastings including the tasty onion pakoras was on offer at lunchtime along with a dress-up photo booth, a musical performance in the playground and a presentation on Hinduism in the library.

The following day, 30 students and 8 teachers came together for a sleep-out to raise awareness about the issue of racism and the difficulties many migrants and refugees face once they reach Australia. 

The evening began with a talk at Brough House with Abdi Aden talking about his book Shining.

Abdi Aden’s world fell apart when civil war ravaged his country. Separated from his family, he fled Somalia, experiencing danger, violence and starvation before escaping to Europe and finally to Australia. Everything he has endured and achieved is testament to Adbi’s strength, resilience and optimism. His memoir recounts his remarkable journey.

Meanwhile, the students and teachers returned to St Peter’s to explore the ‘foods of the world’. Afterwards, the community gathered together in prayer during an intimate liturgy focusing on the issue of race and creating lanterns to be part of the Maitland River Lights Festival.

“This symbolic lantern making is an ideal craft activity as students explore the role of multiculturalism and cultural diversity in Australia. It will also give students a sense of achievement as they watch the lanterns being launched over the Hunter River,” said teacher, Emma Easterbrook.

The night concluded with the movie, Lion, the group peacefully fell asleep on the main yard in the school grounds.

To find out more about Abdi Aden’s journey, visit Maitland City Council Library.

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Gabrielle Sutherland Image
Gabrielle Sutherland

Gabrielle Sutherland is a Marketing & Communications Officer for the Catholic Schools Office and a regular contributor to and Aurora.