Identity Leaders
New Justice and Peace Initiatives
EREA wishes to encourage the young people in EREA schools to think deeply and be agents of change in the world. This post provides an overview of several initiatives that are in development to support our work in this critical area.
In the recent article in Eureka Street, “High School protestors are good citizens” I suggested that one test of the authenticity of Catholic schools is how willing students are to raise their voices for justice. As we know, this willingness doesn’t come out of nowhere. It has often been nourished at home and/or at school. Just as Pope Francis encouraged Greta Thunberg to continue the climate action (read more here), so EREA wishes to encourage the young people in EREA schools to think deeply and be agents of change in the world. To continue to support this work the following initiatives are in development:

1.    ERA for Change Internship
To support the work of the ERA for Change network to be a national, grassroots movement, a position will be created for an ERA for Change Internship (paid). The idea behind the role is to support the involvement of schools in advocacy and particularly the ERA for Change network. This person will work one day a week, alongside completing tertiary qualifications, providing administrative support to the network such as communicating campaigns and resources, updating social media, supporting school staff in organising regional student gatherings etc.  More information will be available through the forthcoming appointment process which will be circulated through EREA school and Edmund Rice ministry networks.

2.    Raising Our Voices – Advocacy for Justice

Br Steve Roche from PRAYTeK, Delhi, will be in Australia in early term 3. We are working with him to arrange a day in each region where students from across the schools in the region can gather to learn from Steve, be inspired, and share their own stories of advocacy. When Steve’s dates are finalised, I will be in touch which each region to ask for a host school. I would also be interested in hearing what your students would best gain from such a day. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this.

3.    UNHCR Universal Review Process – Australia (2019-2020)
The Edmund Rice Centre, through Br Jim Darcy, is offering support for any school interested in contributing to the UPR Process for Australia.  For more information and a timeline, click here. Jim’s email address is on the document for further information.

4.    Peace Education Symposium (Early Bird registrations closes Friday 31 May)
Also, a reminder of the Peace Education Symposium (click here for Flyer), which is taking place in August. The ACBC have reminded us through their election statement that “We all have a role in promoting peace – which means speaking to our fellow Australians with love not hate, with respect not contempt, with understanding not indifference.” Only a couple of weeks ago, a seminar was held at the Vatican on the Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace. Cardinal Peter Turkson opened the seminar by saying, "Christian nonviolence may indeed have a face and a name; and that the face and the name is Jesus, meek and humble of heart!" The Symposium will provide participants with an opportunity to engage with the key themes, theological and theoretical, practical and contemplative that contribute to educating for peace and nonviolence. Reflections from young people and educators from EREA and Anglican schools who have experienced the Jesus and Nonviolence RE Curriculum can be read in “Exploring 'the place in the middle'”  in Australian Catholics.
For more information or to give feedback on any of these initiatives, contact Jo Hart (jo.hart@erea.edu.au)
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