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Mar 26, 2021

Celebrating our Community

Harmony Week has become a popular celebration for many Australians. It is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the cultural diversity of our nation and to promote a sense of belonging and acceptance. Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world and subsequently we share a wealth of traditions, beliefs, religions, languages, and customs. Recent statistics indicate that 49% of Australians were born overseas or have a parent who was. We are also fortunate as a nation to have the oldest continuous culture of our First Australians.

With such diversity comes vast opportunities to broaden our knowledge and experience yet this is also coupled with the risk of cultural isolation, misunderstanding, lack of acceptance and intolerance. Harmony Week, in conjunction with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, aims to promote and build global awareness and acceptance.

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, in his 2021 Harmony Week message, stated:

“Australia is one of the most multicultural societies on earth, comprising people from every corner of the globe. We have different backgrounds, different experiences and different cultures. Yet we are one nation, and we are all Australians. Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Harmony Week is a celebration of our diversity.”

At Rivermount College we believe that every day should be a day of harmony where inclusiveness is embedded in all aspects of our community. We are proud to celebrate the cultural diversity of our community and to see this as a great strength that brings the opportunity to learn, to build awareness and to value the many unique differences that make us one.

This year we were fortunate to celebrate two very significant events that aim to improve the way we connect and interact with others.  The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence coincided with Harmony Day on Friday 21 March. The message that ‘Bullying is never Ok!’ was a compliment to the 2021 Harmony Week message that ‘Everyone Belongs!’.

Both messages encourage action against discrimination, alienation, persecution, and intolerance. All these negative practices stem from ignorance and a lack of respect, education and understanding. Since its inception, Rivermount College has, as part of its mission and purpose, prioritised the objective of providing an inclusive community where our students are taught the essential citizenship skills of awareness, tolerance and respect for self and others.

The key focus of events that promote harmony and advocate anti bullying is kindness. Kindness is defined theoretically as simply the act of being nice to others, yet, kindness is more than pleasantries, it is a choice that can positively impact the lives of others through genuine compassion and empathy. Mark Twain once wrote, ‘kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see’. He referred to it as a universal language that transcends boundaries of race, social status, physical appearance, disabilities, and other characteristics that make us all unique.

One of the most heart-warming activities that our students engaged in throughout Harmony Week was the writing of special messages that depict individual views of what kindness truly is. I encourage you to read some of these inspiring and very insightful words written by our Primary students.

Below is a short reflection on the activities enjoyed by our students during Harmony Week and the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence celebrated by our community on Friday 21 March.

Kindness Poster