Be Brave. Make Change
National Reconciliation Week
The theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week (Friday 27 May 2022 – Friday 3 June 2022) is “Be Brave. Make Change.”
The Social Action Va’adot ran a range of engaging activities over the week to embed this theme and encourage Emanuel students to take on this challenge. Activities included a reconciliation themed Shabbat, Tutor group lessons, an interactive lunchtime activity to hear students’ views on reconciliation and a lunchtime screening of ‘The Australian Dream,’ along with several phenomenal posts on their Madrachim Instagram!
Our Shabbat started off the week’s focus with an introduction to the significance and importance of reconciliation. The Student Leaders discussed the opportunities the week gives us to appreciate and restore culture. Each Shabbat prayer was accompanied with a dreamtime story or a statement pertaining to an important idea within Indigenous communities. This showed students how these beliefs and ideals from the earth’s oldest surviving cultures remain significant, just as our faith and beliefs as students of Emanuel School.
Monday Tutor Group Sessions
On Monday the Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 Tutor Group sessions focused on themes of reconciliation. The Year 7 and 8 students learnt about the purpose and significance of the acknowledgement of country. Students developed their own personalised acknowledgements of country, incorporating different aspects of what they wished to mention in paying their respects.
The Year 9 and 10 students engaged in discussions about the importance of activism, and the ways that they as young people can be involved to make change related to Indigenous issues such as through supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Members of the Social Action Va’adot lead discussions for the Year 12 students. These focused on the history and progression of reconciliation in Australia since 1990 and talked about a recent excursion in which students learnt about the history and customs of the Gadigal people. Students learnt about the significance of sustainability and nature to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and the land on which our school stands.
On Tuesday the school organised Aunt Donna Ingram to speak at the High School assembly. Her inspiring speech included a wonderful Welcome to Country and her explanation of the importance of Reconciliation Week. At lunchtime, Emanuel students contributed to a poster asking “What does reconciliation mean to you?” Many students added to the paper and stayed for discussions of others’ views!
During lunchtime on Thursday, students attended a screening of the ‘Australian Dream’ that tells the story of AFL star, and Aboriginal Australian, Adam Goodes’s. This film explores the complex issues that Goodes’ faced in relation to his race, culture and identity in the public eye. The documentary assists in showing the urgency needed for reconciliation in Australia and the different spheres that prejudice seeps into.
Overall this week aims to immerse Emanuel High School in the significance and necessity that is the National Reconciliation Week. Reconciliation means to restore and has happened each year since 1990. Yet despite this event being celebrated and actions being furthered each year there are still so many restrictions felt by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and so many continued experiences of racism and oppression.
This Reconciliation Week, we urge you to think about what it can really mean to move forward. If we can acknowledge mistakes we can continue to ‘Be Brave and Make Change’.
By the Social Action Va’adot