Harmony Week in Western Australia starts today 15 March and runs through to Australia’s Harmony Day on 21 March. Harmony Week is an opportunity for all Western Australians to celebrate our vibrant multicultural State. The fabulous artwork used for this year’s Harmony Week banner is by local artist Alina Tang. Her parents were Vietnamese refugees who came to Australia in the 1980s.
Harmony Day in Australia takes place on the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which started in recognition of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre when police fired on a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in South Africa, killing 69 unarmed protestors.
Harmony Week has become an opportunity for all of us to celebrate our diversity while working to remove barriers that still exist in the community. The message of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’. The day aims to engage people to participate in their community, respect cultural and religious diversity and foster sense of belonging for everyone.
Since 1999, more than 70,000 Harmony Day events have been held in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses, and federal, state and local government agencies across Australia.
The 2016 census showed Western Australia is one of Australia’s most culturally diverse States. You can see other States results on the website. I found it particularly interesting to be reminded that one-third (32.2 per cent) of Western Australians are born overseas — that’s the highest percentage of the population for any Australian State or Territory. Among those born overseas, people from non-main English speaking countries (410,291) outnumbered those from main English speaking countries (387,423) for the first time since the Census began in Western Australia. What’s it like where you live?
Everyone can join in Harmony Week: community organisations, businesses, State Government agencies, local governments, schools, colleges and universities. More information is available from the Harmony Day and the Office of Multicultural Interests websites.
These websites have suggested activities or events: simple things like organising a morning tea, inviting speakers to your groups or cooking up a variety of different food from different countries at home or with friends.
A Taste of Harmony has some super recipe suggestions from Syria, Turkey, China and Vietnam and so many other places. I’m rather fond of the Iranian Marinated chicken with charred limes on the BBQ myself, but I am yet to tackle Baklava, which I love.
What will you do to celebrate?