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Harmony Week (March 18-24)


Today marks the beginning of Harmony Week, a time to help Australians celebrate our rich diversity of cultures. Sharing and embracing our differences can be an amazing thing, and Australia in particular is such a multicultural society. Did you know that almost half of Australians were born overseas or have a parent who was? And that the cultures of Indigenous Australians are one of the oldest surviving in the world, among whom there is a great diversity of cultures, languages, and practices?

Harmony Week encourages us to celebrate our different traditions, religions, languages, art, and food. Importantly, it also includes the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which falls on March 21st. The day highlights that racism is still prevalent across society, worldwide, including in Australia, and that being aware of this is fundamental to combatting racial discrimination. 

So, let’s chat about how you might like to celebrate Harmony Week, and how you can raise awareness, of and combat, racial discrimination. 

Celebrating our cultures

There are so many ways to share and celebrate cultural identity. You could try:

  • Sharing a meal - have you ever heard that expression “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach”? Sharing food (and recipes!) can be such a good way to bond with others and it can be a way of trying new things! Remember to respect other people’s choices when it comes to food as well — we all have different tastes and dietary requirements.
  • Immersing yourself in the art and literature of another culture - this could be through music, movies, paintings, stories, plays, and more! 
  • Connecting with your community - you could check out a list of events here, or investigate whether your local council is getting involved.
  • Asking your friends and family whether they are open to talking about what culture means to them.
  • Reconnecting with people and places that are important to you - where possible, talking to people and visiting places which are significant for you can help you feel connected to your culture.


Developing a greater understanding of different cultures

Learning more about other cultures can be a first step towards supporting people from different cultural backgrounds. Some things to try could be:

  • Doing your research - having knowledge of the historical context and current experiences of people from different cultures is an important part of recognising and responding to racism.
  • Being self-aware - this could include observing and challenging your own biases and any stereotypes you might hold. We all have biases, it’s a part of being human. How we notice and respond to these is what’s important. 

Recognising and responding to racial discrimination

Celebrating our multicultural society is a difficult thing to do without acknowledging the huge and complicated problem that is racism. Sadly, many have found that Australia has a culture of denial of racism. Although racism is not something we can overcome overnight, there are things you can do to address and respond to racism.

  • If you are wondering how to support someone who is experiencing racism - there are many things you can do. This could involve opening up a conversation, or asking the person how you can help, if they are comfortable with this. You can also learn how to stand up to racism if you’re feeling safe to do so, or learn about other ways you can respond


Over to you!

So now that we’ve looked at how we can make the most of Harmony Week, we’d like to hear from you! If you’re comfortable, let us know what Harmony Week means to you. This is a safe space to discuss the positives, negatives, and anything in between.


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