Whether playing a game of soccer or sharing a sausage sandwich and a cup of tea, more than 1000 people across 10 different locations joined to show their support for cultural unity at Standing Together events run by Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) on Tuesday February 24.
Throughout Sydney, and in Wollongong and Newcastle, MRCs hosted local community gatherings that were colourful and vibrant, and where people were happy to enjoy each other’s company.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said she was "thrilled" by the success of the day. “The Standing Together events have demonstrated the respect that MRCs have in their communities and the strength of the local partnerships that they have formed,” said Ms Roumeliotis.
“Every event, no matter how big or small, has achieved exactly what we set out to show - that we are a resilient, vibrant and harmonious society, and we are proud to publicly display our multiculturalism and acceptance of each other.”
The day began with a breakfast discussion at Liverpool MRC, moderated by FECCA Honorary President, Pino Migliorino.
Close to 40 people representing several different organisations, including Liverpool Council, Navitas, UnitingCare and STARTTS, filled the meeting room and discussed practical and meaningful measures to move forward and maintain the momentum of their discussions.
Blacktown saw about 300 people listen to messages of support and optimism from local Muslim leaders, the Mayor of Blacktown Stephen Bali, and Blacktown Police.
Speaking at an after-school youth soccer round robin, Fairfield MRC Manager Clement Meru said that young people of migrant and refugee background are asked to participate in consultations and forums, but they don’t often get the chance to socialise with each other in a multicultural context.
“There were 100 young men of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds playing and eating and just enjoying themselves without any pressures or expectations,” said Mr Meru.
Other Standing Together events throughout the day included a community walk, entertainment by local musicians, BBQs, a networking afternoon tea, and 100 people attending an evening of intellectual and spiritual enlightenment with local religious leaders and scholars in Hurstville.