Wow! What a send off!
The crowd gathers with supporters from BASP, ASRC, GADRC, BRASA and more! A huge thanks to you all!
Thank you to Peter from BeforeLaw for filming the event.
I’m still reeling from the amazing day on Saturday at the State Library. After saying goodbye to my friends, family, colleagues and all the wonderful people who were there to support, I walked those first steps down Swanston St, heading towards Canberra.
SBS came to grab some interviews and film the day.
The day couldn’t have gone better and there are so many people to thank. I could say that I never expected anything like this to happen, or for it to be such a success, but the whole time, even back in Feb when I first thought of this project, I knew it would. I knew that there would be people who would want to help me make this happen because we are so wonderful and caring!
Part of me feels guilty because I think I chose the easy way to “rebel” against Australia’s tough policies for asylum seekers and refugees. I have chosen to focus on the positives and learn of the good things we are doing, when it’s those people who are battling every day against the rules and policies and seeing the effects of those policies in the lives of the people they care for. A week before the launch I visited MITA (Melbourne Transit Accommodation Centre) in Broadmeadows and this was my first time going there on my own, without Sr. Brigid. I sat down with a lady who I had met before. She was crying because she couldn’t comfort her son on Nauru. Every time she was allowed to speak to him he seemed more and more lost. She said she was worried he was going to truly give up hope. She is powerless to help him and I felt powerless to help her. In that very moment I could have flown to Canberra.
I was face to face with this one woman and I have met more people in similar situations to her and I find it very hard. It’s not their fault they are in this terrible situation. The Brigidines and many more people deal with this everyday. I am always humbled by this and, even after walking in the heat today, I still think I’ve chosen the easy road. This is what I was thinking on Saturday as I walked through the crowd to start my journey. Everyone was so excited and supportive, there were banners saying “Go Jess!” As I shook hands with everyone I wanted to tell them all that there are so many others who deserve this praise too and some of them were the ones shaking my hand! So I say thank you to all the helpers, all over the country and I hope that I can tell some of your wonderful stories on my journey!
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Some lovely students from my school! Thanks Girls!