UN World Day of Tolerance is observed every year on November 16th; due this occurring on a Sunday, and participation by local schools, this observance was conducted on Friday 14 November at SPC Ardmona kidstown.
Welcome to Country begins at Kidstown
Aunty Josie Briggs and Aunty Ella Anselmi led the Welcome to Country, and gave much background on their life and schooldays to the people present. All were invited to walk through the smoke. Several traditional indigenous dances were then given by members of the Kiela Dungala Butja Mainigan Dancers.
The Smoking Ceremony; Kiela Dungala Butja Mainigan Dancers are visible on the left.
Message from the United Nations
Local Federal Member for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone MP, has been serving as an Australian Parliamentary Delegate at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for several months. In particular, Dr Stone has been working with the framing of new Millennium Development Goals after 2015. From New York, Dr Stone sent one message to this celebration. Here is an excerpt of Dr Stone's Message, which was read out at the United Nations Observance at Kidstown:
Unfortunately I can’t be here with you today due to my duties in New York at the United Nations General Assembly as an Australian Parliamentary delegate. Tolerance Day is a great worldwide initiative. I strongly believe the people of our wonderful region in Murray are an excellent example of a community who have grown through tolerance. Australia was built on the backbone of migrants coming to start a new life in the land of opportunity; Shepparton is a great example of this. We have people from all over the world, from various backgrounds and different religious beliefs living in harmony with one another, which is something we should all be proud of.
We all have different histories, we all have different life experiences and we all make our own contributions to our community and society, but most importantly we are all part of Australia. From our traditional land owners, the Bangerang and Yorta Yorta tribes in the Shepparton area, to the newly arrived migrants who have lived here less than one year, we are all part of this great land. Being tolerant of one another is an attribute all Australians have; we embrace our own heritage and traditions and also the heritages and traditions of others. The proof of this is here today; many people from many backgrounds are able to come together and celebrate one another and accept each other into their lives.
Public and Students at Kidstown listening to message of Dr Sharman Stone
Respect and Acceptance
Tolerance is a day for respect and acceptance. Acceptance of the past leads to a more tolerant attitude for the future.
Teachers confirmed that it was important for students to celebrate tolerance and learn to live in harmony and peace. Sirius College students participated with Year 2 students performing a Korean fan dance, and Year 4,5 and 6 students performing a Turkish folk dance.
Many schools contributed posters. All the posters submitted were displayed on the day, and the posters are all a credit to integration of tolerance in the curriculum. The winning poster, shown below, was a work of several students done over many weeks, a collaboration between children of different nations.