2019 PALM SUNDAY RALLY - COMING UP ON SUNDAY 14 APRIL! SEE BELOW FOR INFO & REGISTER

About the Campaign 

Give Hope is an initiative of the Uniting Advocacy Team on behalf of Synod and our partners.

This grew from rising church, organisation and community concern about how people seeking asylum are treated by Australia - in the community and in offshore detention - and about the plight of refugees worldwide. 

Our campaign advocates for a more compassionate, respectful and humanitarian response to this issue. It aims to raise awareness and help give practical support for those living in the NSW/ACT community.

As this global humanitarian crisis forces millions from their homes, we’re urging the Australian government to provide fairer process and permanent protection, increase our humanitarian intake, help resettle offshore detainees in Australia and establish a new regional protection framework.

 

The Sydney Palm Sunday Rally, 25 March 2018

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and speakers at the 2017 TAFE Campaign Celebration, Nov 2017

Jon from Give Hope presents a Community Action Workshop at Roseville Uniting Church, Nov 2017

March with us again this year for the annual Palm Sunday Rally for refugees and people seeking asylum on Sunday 14th April.

Events are taking place in all major capital cities and some regional areas around Australia and with the Federal Election just a few months away, we’re hoping to make it bigger than ever in 2019!

We are calling on all Uniting Church members & Uniting staff to take part and march together to demonstrate the Church’s commitment to the rights and protection of refugees and people seeking asylum!

We are supportive of fair, humane and compassionate policies and think we CAN do better for people who seek safety here.

Speakers at the Sydney event include renowned orthopaedic surgeon and former Iraqi refugee, Dr Munjed Al Muderis, and Fr Clement Taulaum, a parish priest from Papua New Guinea who has worked closely with detained refugees. 

Details

Where to go: Belmore Park – next to central station

How to find us: When you get to Belmore Park, you’ll see many others gathering for the rally and a stage. To find the Uniting Church & Uniting group, look out for our ‘Uniting for the common good’ banner – as seen below. We will be sure to hang this up near the stage.

After hearing from the speakers on the stage, everyone will begin the march down Broadway to Victoria Park.  We’ll be walking in a large Uniting & Uniting Church group so be sure to find us first at Belmore Park.

What to bring: We’ll be marching roughly 1.4km, so wear comfy shoes and a hat and bring a bottle of water.

Tshirts: We also encourage people to wear t-shirts showing their congregation or organisation. For Uniting staff, this would be one of the pink or white Uniting t-shirts. For Uniting Church members, a t-shirt with your congregation. We also have a number of these ‘Uniting for the common good’ t-shirts available. Please let us know if you would like us to provide you with one of these on the day.

Placards: If you can, also bring a placard or sign (roughly A3 size or larger) showing us where you come from, which congregation you represent or with a quote of your choice. A few examples below.

Banners: we have 3 large banners and will ask for volunteers to assist us to carry these.

DOWNLOAD THIS INFO SHEET WITH ALL INFORMATION, MAPS & PICS

Contact Alex Hogan from the Uniting Advocacy Team for more information: ahogan@uniting.org / 02 9407 3230 / 0423 503 998

Policy affecting people seeking asylum  is the toughest it’s ever been. The harm caused by these policies is widespread and widely reported.

We're now in the leadup to a federal election – when critical decisions about policy on this issue will be made. We need local MPs to see and hear their constituents talking about this issue. The feedback we get from MPs is that more people from the community need to be knocking on their door if any change is to be won.

The Uniting Church has a long and proud history of defending rights of refugees and people seeking asylum. It's more important than ever to remind your local MP that "we can do better" for refugees and people seeking asylum. This is a simple but very effective action you can take at this critical time - it carries more weight than many other campaigning methods.

How we can help

We can be with you as you make contact with your MP’s office, prepare for the meeting, and debrief afterwards. We have RESOURCES to help you speak confidently and powerfully to your MP about the situation for people seeking asylum - most importantly, to explain WHY this issue matters to you and WHY you wish to see change. We can provide information on particular policy areas where change is needed that you can discuss in the meeting – SEE THIS GUIDE. This will help you focus and make the most out of your conversation. 

Organising a delegation

  • In some cases you and people in your congregation will be the lead delegation to meet your MP – that's great and we can be there to help you organise and prepare.
  • In other electorates, there may already be delegations visiting the MP on this same issue - so we can connect you with them. In this case you may wish to select a spokesperson from your congregation to accompany this group, or even seek an additional meeting if the delegation is full.
  • In each scenario you'll be fully briefed and trained (if needed) for the meeting - and given support before, during and after it. We want you to feel comfortable, confident and fully prepared.

Next steps

  • If you're interested in visiting your MP, please contact Alex Hogan at ahogan@uniting.org or on 02 9407 3230 / 0423 503 998. We can then find out if there's a delegation in your electorate and help you with scheduling the meeting.
  • In the meantime, you can easily and quickly EMAIL YOUR MP on this issue. The email can be edited as you wish.

More people are on the move than ever before.

War, terror and poverty have created an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis of 65.6 million forcibly displaced people - 20 people every minute.

According to UNHCR, each day over 28,000 people are forced to flee their homes to escape violence and persecution. Among those forcibly displaced are 22.5 million refugees, searching for safety and seeking asylum. 

These are ordinary people - forced to take great risk and show extraordinary courage to survive unimaginable terrors,  leaving their homeland to build a new life for themselves and their families. These people have much to offer our community, if we allow them to “call Australia home”.

Every human has the legal and moral right to seek safety and asylum - regardless of origin, race, language or religion. In the face of the current humanitarian crisis, a global response is needed to protect and uphold these rights. So what's been Australia's response

The Give Hope campaign is one way of responding to this crisis. We work within the Uniting Church and the wider Australian community to advocate for change - for better laws and policies to help people live and flourish, with a chance to make their own luck in our Lucky Country.

Email your MP:

Getting in contact with your Federal MP is a great way to show them that their constituents are passionate about this, and want change. We’ve made it super easy for you – simply click the link, enter your address and either send the pre-filled message or add new words of your own. This is your chance to tell our leaders that WE CAN DO BETTER for refugees and people seeking asylum – make it count!

Community Action Workshops for your congregation or community 

We've teamed up with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre for their #RightTrack Campaign to help change the conversation about refugees and people seeking asylum and create a more compassionate response. This is a 4hr program delivered by Give Hope and the ASRC for those who already support these people in need - but who want to learn more about how to change the situation. Please contact Alex Hogan at Give Hope to discuss holding a workshop - ahogan@uniting.org / 02 9407 3230

Nauru and Manus Island:       

The situation in offshore detention remains at crisis point. The sector-wide #KidsOffNauru campaign calls for the immediate evacuation of all children detained on Nauru. See the President of the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, Deidre Palmer's statement. We've heard how harmful this offshore processing regime has been for people detained for years. We must continue to urge the Australian Government to act compassionately, evacuate the camps and bring people to safety before more lives are lost. 

For more information on the current situation contact Alex Hogan at the SJF Team: ahogan@uniting.org 

#LetThemStay  

In 2017 we heard of a group of men, women and children, transferred to Australia for medical treatment, being threatened with state-imposed destitution. This group was at risk - but, thanks to the #LetThemStay campaign, they were allowed to remain here. Now they're at risk of losing all financial support and housing - a deliberate attempt to make life so unbearable that they have no choice but to return to danger. This decision could see hundreds of vulnerable people - including children and female victims of sexual assault -  thrown on the streets, without money or a place to live. How you can help: 
-Email the Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to demand a better way! We’ve made it easy for you to express your concern about the recent decisions. Simply follow this link, edit the message text as you wish, and send: https://socialjusticeforum.good.do/letthemstay/letthemstay/

Practical Support:       

Each year we run voucher appeals to provide essential practical help to refugees and people seeking asylum in the community. We invite members of our church and the wider community to take part by purchasing a gift card or voucher for a supermarket, department store, pharmacy, sports store or cinema, and send them to us. It's up to you how much each voucher is worth. We then hand over all the vouchers to the team at Settlement Services International, who working directly with people seeking asylum in the community. To get involved, send vouchers via post to: Give Hope Team, PO Box 7137 Silverwater NSW 2128. 

#WeCanDoBetter symbolic action:

Taking part in this symbolic action is a powerful way to say We Can Do Better for people seeking asylum. This is a great activity to get your family, friends, colleagues and church community involved in - the more the better! 

Just print out the sign (make enough copies for everyone), take a picture of your group holding the signs and, on the flip-side, write a message to your local MP in the space provided. This should be a message from the heart, telling your MP why you think we can do better for people seeking asylum. Be sure to sign off with your name, then send these in the mail to your local MP's office. We'd also love you to share the picture of your group with us - please email it to socialjustice@uniting.org. Download a copy of the sign from the 'Resources' tab below. 

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter for live campaign updates, pictures and action alerts.

For resources and more background information please go to our resources page