Social Justice

If you want peace, work for justice.

Pope Paul VI

It is hard to believe that almost a year has passed since I formally began my tenure as Social Justice Captain. 

Term 4 last year commenced with tremendous momentum as we closed out the Year of Justice with the Mary Ward Justice Forum. The night was truly inspiring and an insightful discussion of the ethics of the concept of ‘legality’ regarding refugees and those seeking asylum, with the importance of compassion and the humanity of those in need central to the evening.

Also last year, we launched our inaugural Ethical Christmas stall, raising over $500 for the St Vincent de Paul Society through the sale of donated items, an accompanying shopping guide being released a few days later to the rest of the student body. This was done alongside our annual Vinnies Christmas Appeal, each tutor group putting together a hamper of essential items for families in need over the holiday season. Such individual impact was also exemplified by our Lenten Project Compassion Appeal, in which small donations proved to have a life-changing impact on those in our local and global communities.

Personal donations grew into collective advocacy with our extension of Close the Gap Day into Close the Gap Week, as we focused on educating the whole community about the continuation of the health and education gaps between white and Indigenous Australians. Throughout the week, we were able to sign and send off a multitude of signed petitions, unpack our school’s comprehensive Reconciliation Action Plan, and relay the importance of the Uluru Statement of the Heart to action going forward. It calls for makarrata, the coming together after a struggle; for “a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination”. We continued to reflect on this core tenant of the modern struggle for First Nations “to be heard” throughout the year, viewing it in a new light in both Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.

Undoubtedly, this has also been a phenomenal year for service leadership. Last year, my cohort started the charge during Enviroweek, collecting over sixteen kilograms of litter to exemplify the importance of preserving our school ecosystem. As always, Loreto Day saw Year 11 take the reins, banding together to support the work of the Baby Milk Project in Zambia, and engaging the school through their already incredible leadership skills. I have no doubt that the school will be in very capable hands next year, under the brilliant guidance of the incoming Social Justice Captain, Luka Swain – the Class of 2019 is very excited to see what our younger peers achieve going forward, and I wish them the best of luck!

One of the most exciting developments over the past year, however, has been the introduction of our ‘Green Team Junior Team’ – a collective of ten girls from Years 7 and 8 passionate about making a change on a local level. In the words of climate activist Greta Thunberg, “you are never too small to make a difference”, and these girls have wholeheartedly demonstrated this, organising a Low Waste Bake Stall, Hot Chocolate Stall on Snug as a Bug in a Rug Day, and presenting their debut ‘Did You Know?’ at assembly just last week. The whole Junior Team should be commended for their drive, as well as the courage in standing up and joining into an increasingly complex and potentially disturbing debate.

Today, people across the globe are marching for climate change; to send a message to those in power that, for the good of humanity, our practices must change. We must change. The high profile nature of these growing protests has led me to reflect further on the power of a unified community to create a change for future generations. There is an abundance of quotes from far more qualified voices that could sum up such an idea in a more eloquent manner, and at this point I will defer to one of Green Team’s favourite quotes; “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”.

 

Isabella Larkin

Social Justice Captain 2018-19