Second online Neighborhood Night to discuss Fair Treatment campaign

Second online Neighborhood Night to discuss Fair Treatment campaign

With over two years running the Neighborhood Nights series, Epping Uniting Church is facing unprecedented challenges as they keep up the idea of discussing and to contribute to social justice issues.

Insights talked to Andrew Miller, Epping Uniting Church Community Organiser, who is looking forward to the second online Neighborhood Night. This Facebook live event will take place on 26 August and will be discussing the Fair Treatment Campaign, a topic discussed briefly a while ago, but that retains its currency.

The event was originally postponed due to COVID-19, but organisers decided to move it online, as it is not clear when gatherings of this size will be possible and safe again.

“I don’t think we should let COVID stop us from talking about pressing social issues such as this,” Mr Miller said.

The Fair Treatment Campaign aims to create awareness on the need to increase access to treatment services, especially in rural and regional areas, and introduce a compassionate, health-based response to problematic drug use. Created by the Uniting Church NSW/ACT and Uniting, it has now more than 60 partner organisations.

Mr Miller will lead the discussion with Stafford Sanders a writer, editor, communications and public advocacy manager, with 15 years’ experience in public health and other NGOs from Uniting Advocacy and Liz Gal, Founder of Somebody’s Child, a platform that aims to reduce stigma, showing that recovery is possible and that fights for a drug law reform that highlights the desperate need for adequate funding for AOD treatment services across Australia.  

He sees this new space as “an opportunity to have an open discussion because the penalties and incarceration rates around drugs use are too high, and it is time for a reform.” He wants to create, “greater community awareness of both the issue and the campaign, to destigmatise drug use, to personalise the issue more and for people to hear a different voice than the one we hear on the nightly news.”

Epping Uniting Church Neighbourhood Night takes place on Facebook live, Wednesday, 26 August at 7:30pm.

To make the most out of the discussion, you can watch in advance the documentary ‘Half a Million Steps.

The first Facebook live took place on 8 July, with more than 100 viewers. Andrew had a great discussion with Bart Carter from Christians Against Poverty. You can watch the video here.

Angela Cadena

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