It is important to have an established day, like March 21, for Harmony Day as it provides us with an opportunity to again reflect on the importance of harmony in our nation.
We need to be mindful there are many countries in the world that don’t have the social cohesion and integration of such a variety of cultures and faiths as we have in Australia.
Perhaps we take some of it for granted. It is great we live in a society where we feel comfortable and see the richness and benefits of diversity: our wonderful food and cultural events like Sydney Festival, film festivals and SSI’s own New Beginnings Festival.
However, Harmony Day for me is a reminder that we have multiple identities, that we are a very complex nation and there is a human element that links all of us. It is something we can celebrate as we reflect on the many positives of living in a vibrant, multicultural country.
Harmony Day is also a reminder that every day we should be curious about our differences and wary of the negativity we hear in the media.
Things may not be perfect but we do need to sometimes critique what we see and hear and bring it back to the personal and the human rather than the stereotypes of people, religions, communities and cultures that can only be counterproductive.
Happy Harmony Day!
CEO, Settlement Services International