Blackheath Community Conversation hears the testimonies of refugees and asylum seekers

“Community Conversation” Diocese of Parramatta.
“Community Conversation” Diocese of Parramatta.

The issue of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia tends to give rise to strong feelings – although, listening to the views of many politicians and some media some debates generate more heat than light.

Rarely heard are the authentic voices of those individuals whose lives are futures are at stake.

In the upcoming Blackheath Community Conversation, locals can hear the testimonies of refugees and asylum seekers – along with the evidence of a refugee expert. Attendees will also share their own conversations, with opportunities for a Question and Answer segment.

“The overall aim of the event is to share first hand information about the authentic experience of refugees and people seeking asylum … and consider what we can do as a community to positively impact the welfare of people seeking refuge and asylum in Australia,” a spokesman for the event said.

The event will be held in the Blackheath Community Centre, cnr of the Great Western Highway on Sunday May 20 from 2pm to 4.30pm. Afternoon tea will be provided.

It is part of a wider initiative launched late last year by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv [Order of Friars Minor Conventual], Bishop of Parramatta. At the launch Bishop Long, a self described “queue jumper and former Vietnamese boat person” said that: “In a generation we have gone from the universally admired, generous, hospitable, daring, courageous country to one of the most pilloried in terms of our policy towards asylum seekers.”

The event is hosted by the Sacred Heart Catholic Parish in Blackheath in collaboration with the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group and Sydney Alliance. For more details call Celia on 0499 077511 or register at www.bit.do/blackheath.