Harmony Week where ‘everyone belongs’ has been the key backdrop and experience as community leaders from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) communities in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne are continuing to engage with the Victorian Parliament through ECLC’s Engaging Communities in Democracy Project.
Fifteen community leaders, from Chinese, Burmese, Sikh, Muslim, Ba’hai faith and Indian communities, are working with Parliamentary staff to help CaLD community members engage with and understand democratic and law-making processes that affect their communities.
The leaders who form the advisory group met face to face for the first time this year during Harmony Week (15 – 21 March). They celebrated being together in the same room after a long time apart due to the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. They also celebrated Nowruz (also known as Persian New Year), which comes at a time of uncertainty around the world and for a lot of Iranians as the country manages outbreaks of the pandemic.
Parliament of Victoria staff Gaya Subramaniam and Andres Lomp joined the leaders as the project is now developing a toolkit and leadership program to engage CaLD communities.
The leaders produced a short video for Harmony Day on Sunday, 21 March 2021 where ‘everyone belongs.’ The video shared their thoughts and ideas of what it means to live harmoniously in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
When asked what Harmony day means to him, community leader Sana Hosseini said as a first generation Australian who came to Australia as a refugee child, Harmony Day is particularly important.
“We all breathe the same air. We all live on the same earth. We receive warmth, sunshine, and light from the same sun. We’re all part of the one human family, just like a garden that has flowers of all different shades and colours. Humanity is the same. It has different races, different colours and people with different capabilities and capacities. This is what makes humanity truly beautiful. This harmony is what brings true strength to humanity,” said Sana.
Community leader Dilnaz Billimoria said for her Harmony Day means faith, fun, festival, food, family, and friends.
Seven community leaders took part in the videos.
The community leaders have also produced, ‘This is Parliament’ videos in Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese. The videos are yet to be released.
Engaging Communities in Democracy is funded by the Parliament of Victoria.