Message From the Principal
In this together
There could not be a more apt phrase than Reconciliation Week 2020’s – in this together. Throughout the COVID-19 isolation the similar line from Ben Lee’s song “we’re all in this together” has been a uniting catchcry. As we slowly emerged from isolation, we’ve hit Reconciliation Week, commencing May 27th, the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum. Sadly, we are also watching the riots resulting from George Floyd’s death in America and the re-emergence of the #blacklivesmatter movement. It is easy for us to look on from Australia and wonder at the violence, but we too have significant issues around the treatment and living conditions of indigenous Australians today – not just in the past. Since the 1991 Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody, 429 indigenous Australians have died in custody. A glance at Indigenous health and education statistics highlights their ongoing disadvantage.
These issues are confronting. Motivational speaker Paul Scanlon posted a Facebook video asking “Am I a racist? I don’t feel like one” and sensitively opened up the question of white privilege. He recognised that many people are not directly racist –they don’t hate others. However, many do not understand “white privilege” – the unknowing way white people are advantaged simply because of their skin colour. He spoke of the importance of understanding, of “stepping into the shoes of another”, of listening to the experiences of others, recognising privilege, and speaking out and helping others.
One thing is certain – reconciliation needs to be about more than a week, it needs to be a way of life. Our lives have been turned upside this year, we are looking around and asking many questions about our society. In our increasingly polarised world, pursuing understanding of each other’s lives is so important. Ultimately it is Jesus who broke down the dividing walls of hostility between us and God and other people. (Ephesians 2:14-22). We are in this together and through His strength we need to seek healing and unity. May our College be an agent of reconciliation, hope and change.