The Australian Jesuit Province’s Bookends Project invites you to help create a culture of welcome throughout Australia this Refugee Week, from 14 to 20 June.
The week is about celebrating the contributions refugees make to our community and encouraging successful integration which enables refugees and people seeking asylum to live in safety here.
This year’s theme, ‘Celebrating the Year of Welcome’, invites people to consider how they might be more open and receptive to listening to refugees and asylum seekers and welcoming them into our communities.
Here are seven ways you can become more welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers this week:
1. Learn about Refugee Week and this year’s theme
What is Refugee Week?
Learn the facts and key information.
Join the online forum: What’s in a welcome? Speakers from First Nations and refugee communities discuss hospitality, community, diversity and tolerance.
2. Seek deeper insights by joining a webinar
Learn about the work of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) during COVID19.
Learn about refugee issues through various webinars listed on the Refugee Council of Australia website.
3. Celebrate stories: Listen and learn from refugees and people seeking asylum
Host or watch a listen party using one of the following:
Listen to the individuals sharing their stories.
Listen to ‘Unpacking Lived Experience’ from Refugees Alternatives 2020 Conference.
Watch a film.
Write a review to share on social media.
4. Advocacy: Call your local MP. Take action.
Read about the impacts of COVID-19 on people seeking asylum here.
Sign and share the petition begun by Catholics for Refugees calling on a safety net for all: click here.
Click here to find your local MP and their phone number.
Become a Refugee Welcome Zone, create your own profile!
5. Participate in action. Initiate an action that promotes a culture of welcome.
Support the work of Jesuit Refugee Service.
Participate in the online exhibit Forced from Home by Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Organise a fundraiser: The Cage, Circle of Silence.
Sign up for the Refugee Challenge.
Commit to taking monthly action: 12 ways to building a welcoming Australia.
6. Celebrate and explore through music, art and literature.
Attend an online art exhibit.
Listen to songs by Moz.
Visit and enjoy the art and music by Farhad Bandesh.
Review current literature about and written by refugees.
Please share your Refugee Week activities and reflections on the Australian Jesuits Facebook page.
The Australian Jesuit Province’s Bookends Project focuses on the two ‘bookends of rejection’ in Australian history: our treatment of First Nations peoples and our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
Bookends Project Officer for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Anne Nesbitt, says Refugee Week provides a platform for all of us to foster a more welcoming and inclusive Australia towards refugees and people seeking asylum.
‘We encourage everyone to listen and learn from those with lived experience. If we truly get to know and come to understand our relationship with refugees and people seeking asylum, we will be moved to act with them.
‘The theme of welcome aligns with our Province’s goals with the Bookends Project as we endeavour to turn the bookend of rejection into a bookend of hospitality and welcome.’
The Bookends Project would like to hear how your ministry is working to create a culture of welcoming with refugees and asylum seekers. You can share your stories and photos with firstname.lastname@example.org.