Representatives from Jesuit Refugee Service, Jesuit Social Services (under CAPSA) and the Xavier Social Justice Network recently attended the Palm Sunday ‘Justice for Refugees’ walk in Melbourne’s CBD.
The annual event aims to raise awareness of the continuing injustice and cruelty experienced by refugees and people seeking asylum both in Australia and beyond.
Danusia Kaska, Xavier Social Justice Network (XSJN) Coordinator, reflects on her experience below.
On Palm Sunday, the Xavier College community, under the banner of the Xavier Social Justice Network (XSJN), walked in solidarity with advocacy groups from across Melbourne and beyond in support of the national action calling for ‘Justice and a Fair Go for Refugees’. It was a wonderful way for parents, staff, students, members, volunteers and friends of the XSJN to come together and unite on this important cause.
The sun shone down upon us on this autumn day as we gathered at the State Library of Victoria. We listened to powerful speeches delivered by Julian Burnside, Sr Brigid Arthur, ‘Moz’, Atena Kashani and more. The audience was moved by their words and stories and were shocked by the facts and statistics that were presented.
As we walked through the city, people tooted their car horns and cheered on in support of our cause. Upon reaching the Park Hotel in Lincoln Square, no one was prepared for the confronting image of people waving to us from the windows. The word ‘prison’ was written across the walls in chalk and a line of police officers was guarding the entrance. It moved many to tears. We chanted ‘free the refugees’ and listened to the stories of refugees escaping conflict and war, in the hope of a better life.
Let us hope that this gathering will raise awareness in Australian society and demonstrate to the government that the Australian people are united against the cruel and unjust treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum in our country.
We hope that this gathering demonstrates to all that we are a country of welcome and opportunity to all.