Social Justice

House Of Welcome

It is always heartening when one our students see a need in our community and then does something about it.

After being in isolation for weeks Tahlia Jones (Year 12) suggested that as we return to school for face-to-face teaching, students and staff to bring an item of food or personal care for the House of Welcome. The response from the community was phenomenal, with a huge delivery of much-needed goods delivered to the House of Welcome of Friday 21 May. It can be understandable in times like these when may become focused on ourselves however this is an excellent example of our community authentically going where the need is greatest.

For more information on the House of Welcome, see the article by Sr Libby Rogerson, ibvm,  from “Sustain” Magazine, Mary Ward International.  Click HERE

Thank you for your ongoing generosity.

Wrap With Love

The Loreto Normanhurst community are invited to participate and support the important work of the Wrap with Love charity. Wrap with Love distributes blankets to vulnerable people in Australia and overseas during the winter months.

To date, Wrap with Love have distributed over 500,000 blankets worldwide to those in need. This term, Year 7 students regularly meet each Thursday to learn to knit and make new friends under the supervision of Mrs Osborne, Mrs Emslie, Miss Lloyd and Miss McLachlan. This will be expanded to other year groups in Term 3.

There are many ways for you to get involved:

1. Create a square – using 8 ply wool and 4mm needles, knit or crochet a square 25 cm by 25 cm.

2. Assemble blankets – sew together 28 squares to create a blanket

3. Donate old wool and needles – perhaps you have some leftover balls of wool at home?

We would gratefully receive 8 ply balls of wool of any colour and spare 4mm knitting needles I encourage you and your families to get involved in any way that you can!

For more information about Wrap With Love, click HERE

We look forward to sharing more photos of the blankets that the Loreto community make this winter. 

Ms Melissa Clancy

Social Justice Coordinator


Black Lives Matter

Luka Swain, Year 12

On  25 May, George Floyd died at the hands of an American police officer. His death sparked marches, protests, and riots across America as people brought recognition to racism and the mistreatment of African American people in police custody –  issues that should have been addressed years ago.

These events from America were discussed and analysed in the Australian media as non-domestic problems, however, the truth is that we have equivalent concerns in our backyard. Aboriginal people make up only 2% of the Australian population, yet they represent about 28% of the adult prison population. Aboriginal people are fifteen times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous adults. Indigenous youth are twenty-six times more likely (than non-Indigenous youth) to be incarcerated.

Statistics like these are reminders that the “Black Lives Matter” movement is not just relevant to the United States, rather it is as applicable in modern Australia. Just one week following the death of George Floyd, a 17-year old Aboriginal boy was slammed face-first into the ground after confronting police officers in Surry Hills. Sadly, this is but one case out of the hundreds of altercations that occur every year across Australia. In 1991, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody called for the decriminalisation of public drunkenness – yet last year, Aunty Tanya Day was arrested for being intoxicated on a train, and then died in police custody from neglect. Her uncle also died in custody years prior.

People around Australia, including many Loreto girls, have begun to question the prevailing community silence shrouding Indigenous lives, and the horrific treatment of our First Peoples, who have suffered so many unacknowledged injustices. In response, last week, JPIC held a “Black Lives Matter” workshop where we discussed the origins and meaning of the “Black Lives Matter Movement” and recent events around the globe. The year groups split into different rooms and Year 12 Social Justice leaders ran the separate sessions with Powerpoint and video presentations, and discussions. The girls learnt that the Black Lives Matter Movement actually began in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s murder, and that there have been 437 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991. We discussed what we thought about marches during Covid-19, and the problems with saying ‘All Lives Matter’.

Towards the end of the session we discussed how we can get involved and support the movement. It’s often difficult to know how to help and be part of such a significant world-wide cause, but we decided on the following actions: donating to trustworthy charities, signing online petitions, having conversations with friends and family, following inspiring people on social media, watching movies, reading books and listening to podcasts on the topic, buying from black or Aboriginal owned businesses, and contacting local representatives pressing for change.

Arguably, what is most important is educating yourself on the movement and standing up to racism. Acknowledge our privilege, and use your disproportionate influence and power to bestow justice to the vulnerable and deserving in our society.

Although hearing the stories and facts was confronting and eye-opening, sitting in the rooms observing the passion and discussion of the girls has made me hopeful, even confident that we can create change and transform to a fairer and less discriminatory society.

 


Exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture – Q&A Session with Year 7

Grace Parker, Year 7

During our Wednesday conversation period, Year 7 had a Q & A session with two of our own Year 7 peers Tyra (proud Kamillaroi woman) and Jess (proud Wadi Wadi woman) with the support of four of our senior Aboriginal boarder students Polly (proud Barkindji woman), Shayarnee (proud Barkindji woman), Maria S (proud Wiradjuri woman) and Maria T (proud Kija woman). The purpose of the Q & A was to give us the opportunity to gain a unique insight into Aboriginal culture from the perspective of girls who we see every day.

The most common questions raised were related to racism and the girls’ experiences of this. The girls shared their experience of direct and indirect racism, and the importance of educating people to address this common issue.

We learnt that different Aboriginal tribes have different totems. A totem is a specific plant or animal that is sacred, and the tribe is forbidden from hunting and is obligated to care for their totem instead. We were told the different totems of their specific tribes. For example, Polly is from Bourke and her totem is the Bony Bream. Shayarnee is from Wellington and her totem is the Wedgetail Eagle. Tyra is from Mungindi and her totem is the Carpet Snake.

The girls explained that the term ‘Dreamtime’ only refers to stories from the past and a period of time, which is why they told us that they prefer to use the term ‘Dreaming’, which refers to stories from the past, present and into the future. When questioned on their favourite Dreaming story, Polly and Shayarnee both reminisced on Tiddalik the Frog and Tyra shared that she enjoys the story of the Rainbow Snake.

A few weeks ago, during conversation time, we watched a movie called ‘In My Blood It Runs’ which is a movie about an Aboriginal boy and his challenging experience of education. When questioned about the film, the senior girls said that they enjoyed watching it as they got to see the different tribes and the differences in their cultures, but they did not like the way the teachers acted toward the Australian Indigenous students. The senior girls said that the film was a good insight into Aboriginal students’ experience of the education system in some parts of Australia.

The senior Aboriginal girls assured us they enjoy being asked questions their culture and homeland, as they love the opportunity to educate people. When given the opportunity, be sure to ask them any questions you might have!

On behalf of Year 7, I’d like to thank Tyra, Shayarnee and Polly for speaking to half of the Year 7 cohort. I’d also like to extend my thanks to Jessica, Maria S and Maria T who spoke to the other half my peers, and to the teachers who helped organise it. It was fascinating to hear the stories from students my age, and how different our journey to Loreto has been.