2021 begins with rioting by desperate men on Christmas Island, and with about 60 sick men locked in the Park Hotel in Swanston Street Melbourne with no prospect of release. This is not to forget all those in offshore detention and in onshore detention in places such as MITA, BITA, Villawood and Yongah Hill, nor those in community detention who have not received any government assistance to help them survive difficult times made worse by the pandemic. With the beginning of 2021, we must continue our efforts to provide justice for refugees who are still temporary on visas and to campaign for the freedom of those who are kept in unlimited detention in hotels and immigration detention centres.
Despite this gloom, you will notice that we have plenty of ‘good news’ stories in this edition of the BRASA News.
Afternoon Tea Postponed
The afternoon tea that Catherine had generously offered to host at her home on 17 January has had to be cancelled because of Covid-related restrictions on the number of people allowed to be invited to a house. However, the very successful picnic day that we held 15 December will be the model for another similar event on a date to be announced soon. It was particularly nice that Velu and Shanthi were able to join us. This is the couple that Judy, Frank, Katie, Stan and Alex have befriended for some months now. The raffle that Catherine did so much work to organise raised $340.00. Many thanks to all those who contributed prizes and to those who purchased tickets.
Catherine has already organised another raffle for our next event, and the photos of the three lovely composite prizes are below.
Rally Outside Park Hotel
The rally on 9 January at the State Library and walk to 701 Swanston where the Medevac men are held was attended by between 500 and 700 people.
Donations of Food and Vouchers
Please remember those who are doing it tough in the community. Thanks to those who donated recently. This week the Friends of Refugees were closed, so I took a boot load of donated food and other items to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Footscray. Donations that are appreciated are tinned and packaged food (that does not require refrigeration), particularly rice, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, biscuits,(savoury and sweet), long-life milk, tinned fruit and vegetables, e.g. tomatoes, sweet corn. Also tea, coffee and chocolate, flour, and sugar. Household cleaning products are always in demand such as washing powder for clothes, sponges, toilet cleaner, detergent for dishes etc. Personal care items such as razors, deodorant, shampoo, sunscreen, toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap are appreciated. Items can be left with me at Hampton. Please email or SMS before delivering donations.