Yaegl elders and people from the Harwood Island community are holding a ‘Harmony Day’ at the Harwood ‘Hilton’ Hotel on Saturday March 19.
Yaegl Elder Reverend Lenore Parker said the event would constitute people “coming together to work as one for the community of the Lower Clarence”.
She said the event’s working group chose to hold the gathering in conjunction with the national initiative because “we saw it as being a positive thing that could involve all of the Clarence”.
However, there may be other groups around the valley holding Harmony Day events – the official date is March 21.
The harmony.gov.au website says Harmony Day is a celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity. “It’s about inclusiveness; respect and a sense of belonging for everyone” when we can “share what we have in common.”
March 21 is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Orange is the colour of choice for Harmony Day, which has been celebrated in Australia since 1999.
“Traditionally the colour orange relates to social communication, stimulating two-way conversations,” harmony.gov.au states. “It aids in the development of new ideas and frees the spirit of its limitations, giving us the freedom to be ourselves.”
This year’s theme is ‘our diversity is our strength’.
Harmony Day at the Harwood Hilton kicks off at noon and goes until ‘late’.
Rev Lenore Parker and Kerri Mcleay will deliver the Welcome to Country in the Yaygirr language.
“There will be food, music, dancing and entertainment representing the many cultures and people who make up our vibrant society,” working group member Kathleen Werry said, “and children’s games, arts and crafts and more.
“We invite everyone to come along and take part in celebrating our uniqueness and diversity.”
People who would like to share their cultural heritage, music, arts and crafts or anything else can contact Kathleen Werry on 0401 861 725 or at [email protected] or Leah Essex at [email protected]
Some Australian cultural diversity statistics:
• Around 45 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was;
• 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia;
• Apart from English the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish and Hindi;
• More than 60 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia; and,
• 92 per cent of Australians feel a great sense of belonging to our country.