Taking up the Welcome to Refugees and #LightTheDark events in Capital Cities and Regional Cities around Australia earlier this month, Shepparton hosted LightTheDark Shepparton at Victoria Park Lake on the evening of Friday, 18 September at 6PM.
Shepparton Interfaith Network secretary, Rev. Chris Parnell, MC for the evening, said that "two weeks ago, the world became aware of a very sad humanitarian crisis which is currently ongoing in Europe. The Shenken Zone of the Eurpoean Union was to be without borders. Today, borders are being constructed and Croatia accepted another 10,000 refugees and asked its Army to protect its borders. We have all seen the images of water cannon being used at borders, all for people simply seeking a better life.
Rev. Parnell went on to say that "Your voices, Your Hearts, Your candles combine to say in thought, word and action, Refugees Welcome Here. You express the great Australian values of A Fair Go for All, Compassion, Helping the needy and hope for those seeking a better life".
Speakers on the evening included Shepparton Mayor Cr. Denis Patterson, Neil Morris of the Yorta Yorta Nation, Mustapha Mahommedi (who has only arrived in Shepparton in April), Dawood Baqiri of the Afghani Community - who told that he was aware of refugees who arrived in 2011 and are still in detention - and Haroun Kafi. Mayor Denis Patterson closed the evening with an invitation for all to bring their candles to the sand pit at the front.
Welcome To Country by Neil Morris - Light the Dark Shepparton
Neil Morris of the Yorta Yorta Nation conducts a Welcome to Country
Mayor Dennis Patterson - Light the Dark Shepparton
Mayor of the City of Greater Shepparton, Cr Dennis Patterson gives the Opening Address
Mustafa Mohammedi - Light the Dark Shepparton
Shepparton High School and Refugee Mustafa Mohammedi speaks at Light the Dark Shepparton
Dawood Baqiri - Light the Dark Shepparton
Afghani Community Leader Dawood Baqiri speaks at Light the Dark Shepparton
Haroun Kafi - Light the Dark Shepparton
Community Worker Haroun Kafi speaks at Light the Dark Shepparton
Liz Arcus - Light the Dark Shepparton
Local community member Liz Arcus speaks at Light the Dark, Shepparton
Closing by Mayor Dennis Patterson - Light the Dark Shepparton