Hands up for reconciliation

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National Reconciliation Week celebrations at St John’s School, Mitcham.31 May 2022

The community at St John’s School, Mitcham, have begun National Reconciliation Week with a liturgy and an event to inspire their local community. Principal Verona Gridley describes the day and how students took the lead on this important cause:

We began the day with our Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education (FIRE) Carrier students leading us in a short liturgy to pray as a whole-school community and to raise awareness about how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in our country. Each student was given a red, yellow or black hand to hold up high as we did a ‘Long Walk’ from our school around the shopping precinct of Mitcham. We crossed the footbridge over Whitehorse Road, waving the Aboriginal flag and our sea of hands to the delight of many motorists. The shopkeepers came out to greet us and cheer us on also.

When we returned to school, we created a sea of hands in our garden and reflected on the symbolism of planting the hands in support of reconciliation. The hands symbolise our school community’s support for reconciliation, rights, respect and recognition of identities, cultures and the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It was a very special morning for us all.