Since 2014, the Uralla Club has hosted a Diversity Day Forum, moderated by students for students, on topical areas of interest and endeavours to highlight and celebrate diversity in the School and broader community. The theme this year was Connections, and questions discussed included: How do we connect? With each other? Diverse groups? Within the community? Through culture, art and education?
Claire Fidler (12R) and Lua Jarrah (11B) moderated the Forum, which included former Principal of Milpera State High School and Chair of Friends of the Home of Expressive Arts of Learning (FHEAL), Ms Adele Rice, representatives from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit at The University of Queensland, Professor Tracey Bunda and Ms Emma Olssen, and Counsellor and Community Educator, Ms Sara Pane, from ZigZag Young Women’s Resource Centre.
Panellists shared their experience of, and insights into, what they believe it means to embrace and accept diversity. They also discussed the undercurrent of apathy and disconnect of society in terms of the nature of, and reactions to, national and global issue of significance, including global refugee crises and islamophobia. With discussions about the impact of institutionalised racism, monoculturalism and mythologies perpetuated by the media about particular ethnic groups, the Forum was insightful and thought provoking.
Each panellist stressed the power of language in building connections and making authentic, meaningful and respectful relationships. Be it through the curriculum and/or through community engagement, this requires not just the desire to do so, but the willingness to listen ‘deeply’, to learn and ‘unlearn’ what we think we ‘know’. The School is grateful for the wisdom and depth of experience shared with students and staff.
Ms Abby Hills
Uralla Club Coordinator