Palm Sunday Peace Rally Moves Online

Palm Sunday Peace Rally Moves Online

For several decades, the Australian version of the Palm Sunday Peace Rally has been an annual tradition that has highlighted the peace issues of the day.

While the annual rally has been cancelled for 2020, an online event is set to take its place.

The Palm Sunday Virtual Event will feature a range of guest speakers, including comedians Tom Ballard and Nazeem Hussein, Rev. Ian Smith from the Victorian Council of Churches.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how many people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia live in vulnerable conditions, isolation, and like the wider population, have ongoing health issues. 
 
Conditions in the detention centres and in the hotels being used as Alternate Places of Detention place asylum seekers in very high-risk environments. They are kept in crowded conditions with no possibility of practicing recommended physical distancing to protect themselves from the virus.

Organisers seek to create a large scale online expression of solidarity for all refugees and people seeking asylum.  The event will call on the government to ensure people seeking asylum and refugees, in detention or in the community, have the support they need to get through this.  

How to participate

People who want to get involved can take the following three steps:

1. Take a picture holding up a homemade sign ( simple as an A4 piece of paper). Include a personal message, and what church or group you identify as being from.  Or make a one minute video with a personal message using your phone. Speak Up for Justice for Refugees has templates and ideas, key slogans being used and background information on the issues.

2. Post to Facebook and share with the Uniting Social Justice Forum Facebook page. Or send to ddavidian@uniting.org

3. Tell friends and family about the Palm Sunday online event.

4. Put a sign or other pro-refugee material such as posters or banners outside your home to raise public awareness. Take a photo and put it on Facebook.

5.  On Sunday at 11am participate in the Virtual Event online.

The event will feature the following guest speakers:

  • Tom Ballard, comedian and advocate for refugees  
  • Nazeem Hussain, comedian, TV personality, writer and activist 
  • Moz from Manus (Mostafa Azimitabar) now detained in the Mantra Hotel in Preston
  • Shamindan Kanapathi, Sri Lankan Tamil refugee detained in PNG 
  • Faith leaders:  
    • Bishop Philip Huggins, President of National Council of Churches in Australia;
    • Dr Mohamed Mohideen, President of Islamic Council of Victoria;
    • Rabbi Ralph Genende;
    • Sr Brigid Arthur, founder and Co-ordinator Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
    • Rev Ian Smith, Executive Officer, Victorian Council of Churches
  • Roqaya from the refugee-led group Justice for Refugees
  • Lucy Honan, founder of Teachers for Refugees

The Palm Sunday Virtual Event takes place from 11am Sunday 5 April. It will be available here. 

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