#Let Them Stay
I admit. I’m apathetic.
I would like to believe in democracy.
I would like to have faith in the Australian government.
After a decade of watching the debate about refugees (and their obvious right to seek asylum) – I was over it.
Until I saw this poster.
The Palm Sunday rally was coming up on the weekend.
“No. It won’t make a difference,” I thought to myself.
“How is walking down George Street Sydney going to change the law?”
I debated in my head.
But I was itching to take new photos.
So I packed my camera, and zipped up my black boots that put me in film and photography mode. (It’s weird, I know).
I was ready to scream with random people on the street.
I had no fear.
The mood was tense. The thrill was exciting.
“Say it loud, say it clear!”
Thousands stood together, in an unbreakable pack.
“Refugees are welcome here!”
Posters were held up high. Passion filtrated the air.
“Let them stay!”
267 refugees were facing deportation back to Nauru and Manus Island, after seeking medical treatment in Australia.
The rally was building momentum. The troops rounded up.
And I felt amazing.
I ran through the crowd, and snapped pictures like I was high on drugs.
I knew no one’s name. But I felt I belonged.
We were united together, and stood up for the rights of our fellow human beings.
We changed the debate, and took away the complexity.
We screamed at the top of our lungs, that we are all human.
I looked at each person, as my brother and my sister.
Our diversity of colour made us beautiful.
We are one.
And today as I share this story with you, I discover on ABC news that more than half the 267 asylum seekers have been released in Australia.
To everyone who joined the #LetThemStay protests across Australia: we succeeded!
I’m overwhelmed with joy, and so proud.
“Every protest is a part of building the grassroots people power movement that change hearts and minds – and government policy,”
Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition
“It is through activities like this that national opinion can shift,”
Zoe Grant, ChilOut
You have a voice.
You hold power.
Now I’m a believer.
Join me in the revolution
Together, we can call for all remaining asylum seekers (from the group of 267) to be released in the community:
ADD your rants on social media with #letthemstay
JOIN the next rally organised by Refugee Action Coalition
GIVE a donation to ChilOut and help free children in detention
BE a rebel and sign a petition from GetUp