‘An Afternoon of Music’ held in the National Theatre on Sunday June 24 raised more than $2000 for refugee support and action through the Canberra Refugee Support Group.
Organised by ‘Braidwood for Refugees’, a group representing Rural Australians for Refugees, Amnesty, and St Bede’s Social Justice, the event featured music from Indigenous singers, ‘The Stiff Gins’ and ‘Freshwater’ as well as Keith Potger and the Braidwood Cantors, all of whom donated their time.
Canberra refugee advocate, Sister Jane Keogh, spoke about Australia’s refugee policies and Abbas, a Hazara former UN translator from Afghanistan described his long journey to refugee status and his struggle to bring his family to Canberra. Amnesty International was represented by Bede Carmody, Community Organiser, and Shankar Kasynathan, Refugee Campaign Co-ordinator who is also a former Tamil refugee. Amnesty generously paid for the hire of the National Theatre. Books and information on refugees, including Jackie French’s books for children, were available.
Support for refugees is only one of the concerns of the Braidwood branches of Amnesty International and St Bede’s Social Justice Group. Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), however, focuses specifically on issues concerning refugees. ‘Braidwood for Refugees’ has formed as an umbrella group to bring together anyone in the Braidwood region wanting to work to help refugees and asylum seekers. The Afternoon of Music was organised by all three groups and showed the benefits of combining forces to produce a successful event.