After 25 years the Edmund Rice Centre is still working for justice and a Christmas that asks something of us.
It is tempting to turn Christmas into a safe holiday that asks little of us but that would be to ignore the prophetic reality of Jesus’ life.
At this time of the year people of all walks of life, Christians and people of many faiths and none, honour Him by standing with the undocumented person seeking asylum, the Muslim family just arrived in Australia, the refugee fleeing injustice, the Aboriginal person seeking recognition in their own country and the people of the Pacific trying to sustain life on their islands.
Young boys in Kabul, Afghanistan
A Christmas that bends the arc of history
As 2022 draws to a close, it is timely to remember the words of Martin Luther King who said that the arc of history is long but it bends towards justice. What he did not say is that we need people to do the bending!
For more than 25 years, shifting the needle of history in the direction of justice has been the work of the Edmund Rice Centre. In 2022 this work has included:
- Supporting refugees to make the journey to safety out of Afghanistan and find re-settlement in Brazil, Portugal and the USA.
- Running educational and mentoring programs for newly arrived refugees in Western Sydney.
- Working in partnership with climate leaders and activists across the Pacific to progress climate justice.
- Creating education kits for schools and the community to promote awareness of the Uluru Statement From the Heart.
- Establishing a youth diversionary program in the NT to create alternatives to imprisonment for young Aboriginal people who come into contact with the law.
- Conducting Let’s Talk programs in Aboriginal communities in Northern NSW, to educate non-Indigenous Australians about First Nations history and culture.
Anna Nuariki, I-Kiribati graduate of our climate leadership training, speaking at COP27
A Christmas of Hope
Our work is aimed at enabling the First Peoples (Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders), the Last to arrive (refugees and people seeking asylum), and the Next (peoples of the Pacific confronting climate change) to take their rightful place on this planet with access to their rights, security and safety.
Their needs are great and the resources required to get the job done are insufficient.
This Christmas please support us to keep our work going in 2023 by making a donation. Together, let’s continue to bend the arc of history towards justice.
Many thanks for your support and Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and your loved ones.
Celebrating 25 years of working for justice and solidarity
Recent years have been confronting and our compassion has been challenged, with many of us facing situations not before experienced. As Walter Brueggemann put it:
Compassion constitutes a radical form of criticism, for it announces that the hurt is to be taken seriously, that the hurt is not to be accepted as normal and natural but is an abnormal and unacceptable condition for humanness.
For too many First Nations Peoples, for refugees and those seeking asylum, and for those facing the ravages of climate change - the injustices they face are not natural or normal. They are simply unacceptable. As the Edmund Rice Centre celebrates our 25th anniversary, we remain committed to build a world where justice and peace are not aspirations but a lived reality.
With the generous and continuing support and compassion of people like you, the Centre has worked at local, national and international levels to promote, protect and defend human rights, social justice and environmental justice through research, community education and awareness raising, advocacy and partnership building.
The words of Edmund Rice remind us of our commitment to continue striving for a better world:
‘The world and everything in it is continually changing which proves to us that there is nothing permanent under the sun, and that perfect happiness is not to be expected but in another world!’
Edmund Rice to Mother Mary Knowd, Presentation Convent, Dublin. All Souls’ Day 1813
Let’s make compassion great again!
Can you help with a gift and stand with us with compassion and continue the spirit and principles of Edmund Rice?Donate
Can you help us provide pathways to protection?
The last year has been a challenge for everyone, the world over. However, treating people with basic dignity and humanity, through good times and bad, is a key to being a stronger community.
With the recent change in government, the situation in Afghanistan now is worse than at any other time in the 16 years the Edmund Rice Centre (ERC) has worked there.
Lives are in danger. Protection is more important now than it has ever been. Their stories are harrowing.
People have told us of the Taliban going door to door searching for people who have contacts with western countries, including Australia; of phones being checked to reveal western contacts, of arrests and disappearances; of women being ordered to stay away from school and work, and of whippings and shootings in the street.
Since the return of the Taliban in August, we have been in daily contact with people on the ground, working with them to get them to safety. In recent weeks ERC has assisted families to escape Afghanistan and safely to Brisbane. However, thousands remain in the country, desperate for resettlement and a place of safety.
You can help us continue to provide pathways to protection.
With your support, ERC can continue to advocate for, and provide support to, Afghan people in need of protection, now during the Afghanistan emergency, and into the future. Some of those currently in danger have worked with ERC and other Australian organisations for many years. They have helped us, often at great risk to their safety, so now is the time for us to help them.
Can you donate today to help us ensure that Afghan people in danger are protected?
Photo 193707345 © Nijethorpe, Photo 229677383 © VVShots, Dreamstime.com