Wenona game changers stage silent protest
Year 12 prefects have delivered a stream of talks at Tuesday morning assemblies this year that embrace their grade’s 2017 theme ‘Be a game changer’, and look at the qualities and actions that breathe life into the phrase.
Wenona’s Amnesty Group held a silent protest on 18 May and week-long takeover of the #wenonagamechangers Instagram account dedicated to the theme.
At Senior School assembly on 23 May, Year 12 Amnesty Group members Rose, Salbie and Hannah described their aim to highlight the plight of refugees and asylum seekers detained on Nauru and Manus Island.
“Often in our busy lives we rely on the media to make us aware of these injustices, which is why the lack of media surrounding the truth of these centers is so detrimental to our society and our education,” Salbie said. “We want this protest to be a means to give those trapped in detention a voice and let them know we have not forgotten them.”
Rose told her peers they shouldn’t underestimate their power to affect change in society. “Rome wasn’t built in a day and we can’t expect this issue to be resolved with one protest,” she said. “It is the accumulation of small actions by us as individuals that creates change.”
The Amnesty Group meets once a fortnight at lunch time. Members have also supported ethical clothing campaigns, an annual drive to collect food and toiletries for the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, and petitions to stop human rights abuses in countries including Chechnya.
Wenona Game Changers #amnestytakeover: Shining a light
Day 1: Wenona’s Amnesty Group shared why they staged a silent protest of the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in mandatory detention on 18 May and reflected on the response.“We were overwhelmed by the support and would like to thank every who got involved.”
Day 2: Rose shared why she joined Amnesty. “I had grown up in an environment both at home and at school which fostered opinion and education in both political and social affairs. I am so passionate about the necessity for upholding Human Rights, as having one’s own agency and freedom of movement amongst every other right we have been afforded here in Australia is just that – a right, not a privilege.”
Day 3: Students introduced Aziz, 26, held in detention on Manus Island after escaping genocide in his home country. In his own words a geographer, linguist, English teacher, detainee. "My friends call me 'Mandela' because I stand up for what I believe in. I have lost so much here. I don't want to lose anymore.”
The Australian-run detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru are home to nearly 2000 men, women and children who live in bleak conditions and face uncertain futures.