Mardi Gras Fair Day 2020

Me and Keith, we’ve known each other from partying scenes and community work since the early 2000s.

Went to do the Fair Play stall at Mardi Gras Fair Day in Victoria Park. Mingled with fairgoers, handing out info cards with links to drug rights and details for free legal advice if partygoers are busted by cops with sniffer dogs.

With the news, just three days ago, that police had set an annual quota of 250,000 strip searches, everyone in the inner west is pretty upset at the moment, since we’ve been corralled when exiting from Newtown Train Station, just so police can search us to tick their boxes.

Fair Play was set up after the bashing of Jamie Jackson by police in 2013. Read the latest updates if you are wanting to party safely. [I’ve been involved since the initiative started in 2013, due to many partying friends suffering serious misadventures and deaths.]

Eurovision – Australia votes 2020

Five friends doing their Eurovision vote.
Thoughtfully considering our votes, which didn’t count anyway since someone in a blue clown wig won (am not even joking).

Went round to David’s where he served exotic chocolate, 3 types of cheese and crackers, and a dip he’d found a recipe for in the back of a Fitness First magazine — beetroot, beans and garlic so we can all die healthy.

Luke’s little dog Crackpot stole the show, wanting cuddles. (Luke was away, returning to Mallacoota to retrieve his van after their earlier bushfire evacuation aboard HMAS Choules.)

I liked Diana, Casey and Vanessa. Word from our man on the ground at the Gold Coast, Angus, was that the crowd faves were Vanessa and Casey.

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Voices Unleashed — Hunger Project’s fundraiser

 

Eight of David's friends at the choir recitalWent to see the Honeybees and Cafe of the Gate of Salvation sing their hearts out for a fundraising effort on behalf of the Hunger Project at the Sydney Presbytery Hall, Glebe.

They also held raffles and sold cupcakes, lamingtons and spicy winter mocktails.

David Joseph, a long-time member of the Cafe choir, organised the event, which raised about $4000.

After, we headed back to Newtown to discuss the state of the world at Sir Braxton’s Chocolate Bar over hot chocolate.

The Hunger Project funds an Unleashed Women program which empowers women through education, microfinance, agriculture and health, with the skills, knowledge and resources they need to break the poverty cycle. All of the money raised go towards ending hunger in Africa, India and Bangladesh.

NAIDOC Week — Voice, treaty, truth

We were advised to read this excellent book, Dark Emu, by Bruce Pascoe.

Went to a NAIDOC event at the University of Sydney, with the theme: ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’

Keynote speaker Teela Reid, a proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman born and raised by a single mum in Gilgandra western NSW, told us of her journey from a PE teacher to lawyer and United Nations representative. Now she practices criminal, civil and administrative law and was involved as a Working Group leader on the Constitutional dialogue process that resulted in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Statement calls for the voices of First Nations people to be enshrined in the Australian Constitution, and have a say in laws and policies.

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Stolen Generation plaque at Central Station

I helped write and edit this Stolen Generation plaque, prominently displayed at Central Station. Was a privilege to be asked to be involved and was grateful for the opportunity. (In particular, the second par: “Some of these children never made it home, living their lives disconnected from their families and not knowing their true heritage.”)
Was at the official unveiling six months ago, when many of the Stolen Generation were present, truth-telling stories of being dragged away from their siblings on Platform 1, crying and screaming.

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Bondi Badlands Historical Violence Walking Tour

Went to ACON’s Bondi Badlands Historical Violence Walking Tour today. Author/journalist Greg Callaghan filled us in on each victim’s life story and pointed out the general vicinity of where they had been murdered by juvenile homophobic gangs. It was organised by ACON project manager for safety, inclusion and historical justice, the lovely Michael Atkinson.

The walk, around the clifftop from Bondi Icebergs to Tamarama, started off sunny, but was soon totally freezing with biting wind and rain and we were huddled together with heads bowed like those penguins during winter in Antartica. Luckily, we found shelter at the public toilets in Marks Park — a popular beat where many post-Mardi Gras parties and celebrations had been held. It was also, unfortunately, the scene of many murderous homophobic crimes. But happily, it will also be where a memorial will be placed to remember those we lost.

I used to live in Bondi during 1991-1994, and the clifftop walk was a renowned danger spot at night, as there were no railings, no lighting, and gangs of drunk youths used to hang around there, do drugs and bash people.

Continue reading Bondi Badlands Historical Violence Walking Tour