Catholic social teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about Godself. We believe in the triune God whose very nature is communal and social. God reveals Godself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational, one who is Trinity. Therefore, we who are made in God’s image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.
– Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
At the moment we are wrapping up our Lenten appeals: The Caritas Australia Project Compassion appeal, our clothes appeal for the House of Welcome and the appeal for Project Uplift. The clothes drive will conclude on Monday 4 April so if you have any blankets, doonas or clotehs, particularly warm clothes in good condition, please send those to school on Monday and have your daughter bring them to the Rainbow Room.
Next week, Wednesday 6 April, we will celebrate Harmony Day here at Loreto Normanhurst. We are planning activities to raise awareness of cultural diversity and promote acceptance, understanding and respect for all people. As part of these festivities we are asking students and staff to cook or bake something from their cultural background and to bring this to the Main Quad at lunch time on Wednesday. We are hoping to have a wonderful feast of diverse treats! Your daughter is asked to wear mufti to school on Wednesday – something representing her cultural background or the colour orange – the colour of Harmony Day. Each student will be asked to make a gold coin donation. This will be collected in Tutor time on Tuesday.
Below is an excellent and thought-provoking reflection by our Social Justice Captain, Rachel Parsons, on issues of concern to every Australian.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Dean of Mission
As a country, Australia is extremely multicultural and relies heavily on migrants to drive our economy. A week following Loreto Normanhurst’s celebrating of Close the Gap Day, next Wednesday we as a school will be celebrating Harmony Day– a unique opportunity not only to reflect on the value of diversity, but also whether (or what) contribution we may make to creating or discouraging a well-functioning multicultural society. In his speech at the beginning of the year at an IQ2 debate Indigenous journalist Stan Grant (a must watch-available on youtube) drew attention to the racist notions the Australian Dream is rooted in.
He drew attention to Australia’s racist past and the disempowerment of our Indigenous peoples during Colonisation with the statement of Australian Land being Terra Nullius. To this day, there is contention as to whether Australia Day reflects a day of “invasion” or settlement. While Australia arguably embraces multiculturalism perhaps the image of the Australian Dream which is aspired to, is inherently Anglo-Saxon.
In recent years, especially since the dawn of the “history wars” and Kevin Rudd’s apology, the disenfranchisement felt by Aboriginal Australians has been brought to the public’s attention. In the same way as the issue of Aboriginal Affairs has been given oxygen, it is vital that we consider the potential underlying xenophobia which may arise in certain sections of society against different cultures.
Perhaps historically, separation and understanding of distinctions of “them” and “us” once enabled survival. Today however, as we have moved beyond economic and social imperatives leading to looking upon others as enemies, discrimination is unnecessary. Especially during this time of international turmoil, with an increasing number of terror attacks, xenophobia and racism are increasingly prevalent and therefore acceptance rather than “tolerance” or “accommodation” of other cultures is critical.
Recently we celebrated SuperGirl Week, with particular focus on International Women’s Day. This also highlighted the subliminal messages both females and males often feel they are expected to conform to. A common focus of this discussion is the pay gap for women and unequal opportunities afforded to women based on gender. In the same way, a study was made last year which suggested that (in regards to applying for entry level jobs), ethnic minority candidates would need to apply for more jobs to receive the same number of invitations to interviews. (Read more here ).
As such unconscious racism continues to exist in society HARMONY DAY is such an important time for Australians to celebrate and acknowledge the value of cultural diversity.
Alluded to in the debate was also the concept of casual racism (casual comments made to denigrate a group of people based on their culture or identity) and comfortable racism. This weekend, consider this: is Australia culturally racist? And does Australia’s “casual racism” perpetuate racist stereotypes?
Social Justice Captain
Uplift Project Update
Thank you for your overwhelming support of this cause. We collected hundreds of bras and a large number of brand new underwear, as well as swimwear for donation to the charity. Not only will they make a difference to girls and women in our world, but it is also fantastic reuse of commodities that may otherwise have gone to landfill. It is likely that part of our collection will be heading to Fiji this weekend! I would also like to acknowledge the Social Justice Captain Rachel Parsons and the Social Justice Council for their efforts collecting and sorting the huge number of items we have received.
Mrs Elizabeth Cranfield
Teacher of Science