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Write for Rights

This week, Senior School students from Wenona’s Service Clubs stood up in the amphitheatre and gave short speeches on social issues close to their heart, imploring students to sign their petitions via QR codes.

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If you’ve ever been to London’s Hyde Park, perhaps you’ve stumbled across Speaker’s Corner. Located between the site of the old Tyburn gallows and the Reform Tree, Speaker’s Corner is one of the oldest free speech platforms in the world. Karl Marx and George Orwell have all made their voices heard here, with Orwell describing it as “one of the minor wonders of the world.”

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On Tuesday lunchtime, the amphitheatre became Wenona’s very own version of Speaker’s Corner as Senior School students got up on their soapboxes (okay, it was actually a school bench) and took to the microphone. They gave powerful speeches about climate change; aboriginal deaths in custody; the age of criminalisation in Australia; LGBTQ+ rights and issues; domestic violence; human rights; refugees; and much, much more.

There’s nothing quite like the unique buzz of genuine, impassioned, unmediated public debate – which is quite different from the carefully controlled soundbites that pass for debate in much of the mainstream media.

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Students from the Senior School gathered on the steps of the amphitheatre with their lunchboxes to listen to the speakers. They showed their appreciation with claps and cheers as different students found their voice and bravely got up to challenge the status quo by tackling inequality, inequity and injustice head on.

Write for Rights showed that many of our young women are concerned about the state of the world and determined to change it. It was a simple, but powerful way of connecting with students across the School and raising awareness about the social issues they care about.

Each student had created an e-petition and posters with QR Codes were prominently displayed across the amphitheatre making it easy for students to scan them and sign.

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As Homer wrote in The Iliad over 3,000 years ago, “To speak his thoughts is every freeman’s right.” As Write for Rights clearly demonstrated, our young women are unafraid to question the world they’re inheriting and are demanding that things work differently.

A huge thank you to Amelie in Year 10 and Mya in Year 11 for their hard work in organising and promoting this event, and to Ms Seale, Director of Community and Service Learning for her help and support. And bravo to all the girls who stood up and spoke out!

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