Today marks the start of an important national celebration, Harmony Week. It is a time to celebrate Australia’s incredible cultural diversity, and advocate for inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background. Harmony week also coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day to speak out about racism reaffirming the importance of respecting all people. This week as we celebrate multiculturalism within our communities, we would like to focus upon supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders, Australia’s first people.
Little ones playing together at Surat Aboriginal Corporations playgroup. Courtesy of SAC, 2022.
Australia is one of the world’s most multicultural countries. One in four of the nation's 22 million people were born overseas, and nearly 20 percent of Australians speak a language other than English at home (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2022). Despite this diversity, racial discrimination is an issue that is omnipresent within Australian society. For many people of varied cultural backgrounds, they can feel isolated due to people's lack of understanding and respect. Sadly this includes First Nations people, the custodians of our beautiful Country (Reach Out, 2022). It is so important that we address issues of racism and discrimination now so that future generations can grow up in harmony!
How to get involved in Harmony Week:
Check out a local community event - There are heaps of events happening this week. Check out the Harmony Week Calendar to find an event near you.
Watch/read/listen - Whether you’re looking to reconnect with your own culture and language, or wanting to learn more about others, there are many amazing books, movies, music and podcasts you can engage with. For some First Nations book, podcast and movie recommendations check out our previous blog posts 7 Must-listen Indigenous Podcasts, Must Watch Indigenous Documentaries, Movies and Series to Add to Your List and Thought Provoking Holiday Reading by Indigenous Writers.
Share a meal - Food always brings people together, and is a great way of sharing culture. Get your friends and family together and host a Harmony meal, have everyone bring a dish that means something to them.
Reconnect with the places and people you miss - For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people putting aside some time to spend on Country is very important. This connection with land can be healing and beneficial for one's well being. Getting together with loved ones is another way you can reconnect with culture. Use Harmony Week as a time to prioritise connecting with close friends and family, in person or through a zoom sesh.