Richmond on the #RightTrack for people seeking asylum
People from local Uniting Church congregations, Catholic parishes, advocacy organisations and local Council gathered at the Hawkesbury Central Library in Windsor for a #RightTrack Community Action workshop on Saturday, 23 February.
This was a collaboration between Uniting and the Uniting Church and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) to help change the conversation about refugees and people seeking asylum.
This grassroots strategy is about teaching practical skills and strategies to help people have more positive, effective and values-based conversations about this highly politicised and sometimes divisive issue. Exploring personal narrative and values and connecting these to the issue is an essential component of the workshops, which are developed from the findings of ground-breaking, sector-commissioned “Words That Work” research by Anat Shenker-Osorio.
Geoff Lattimore id a member of the local Rural Australians for Refugees branch and Richmond Uniting Church. He said he was excited to bring a workshop to his community.
“The Hawkesbury is a very traditionally conservative area and we wanted to show that there is a group of people here that want a far more compassionate and accepting policy towards people seeking asylum,” he said.
“We want to better communicate with others who are willing to learn about the issues and the workshop was just what we needed to give us the skills to communicate with these people in a non-adversarial way … communicating on this issue can be so positive.”
With a Federal election looming, the public narrative on this issue often conjures feelings of fear and insecurity.
Alex Hogan from Uniting and the Give Hope campaign says “it is more important than ever to equip people with the skills and strategies to speak confidently and powerfully about people seeking asylum – and these workshops are a good first step.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the workshops or hosting a workshop in your congregation or community can contact Alex Hogan 02 9407 3230 / 0423 503 998.