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Students at MacKillop College, Bathurst

May 17, 2017

Asylum Seekers and Refugees are denied access to our country, denied their human rights and these injustices stem as a result of being denied proper acknowledgement amongst the community.

In the week beginning March 20th, MacKillop College has worked to eradicate this notion of ignorance that creates such injustice. Our efforts to do so have utilised simple strategies; the placing of posters around the college, the incorporation of prayers and reflections into daily routine, the symbolic wearing of a black ribbon; all to epitomise our stance in solidarity with the Sisters of St Joseph, against the unjust conditions experienced by those imprisoned on Manus Island and Nauru.

Harmony Day and the National Day against Bullying were two crucial events on the annual calendar that MacKillop College utilised to strengthen our message. The school community as a whole participated in ‘chalking’ – drawing symbolic images on the pavement of our courtyard – to express their co-operation.

On Friday, we requested that the school community participate in our metaphorical activity to signify the struggle of those journeying to Australia seeking safety from violence, injustice and warfare; by replicating the confines of a boat in which asylum seekers cling in the hope of obtaining refuge. When some were able to fit and saw that their friends could not; when some had trouble standing whilst other couldn’t stand at all; they all sighed with relief when they were told they could walk away.  These reactions spurred empathetic reflections amongst the community of Mackillop College.

The College cohort as a whole recognised that for some, this activity is a reality faced by so many, so many that cannot simply walk away.  MacKillop College is on the road to becoming a community that recognises the injustices faced by Asylum Seekers and Refugees. We are not in denial, and we aspire to see change.

Casey Mutton & Liz Young (Student Leaders)

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