A 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM (AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE) PROGRAM WAS DELIVERED ACROSS CENTRAL GOLDFIELDS SHIRE IN 2019 WITH GREAT SUCCESS.
Our program was collaboratively designed for the first time by local social change organisations, services, community members and Council. The goal was to give voice to those affected by family violence, to raise the profile of the complex issues and to gather people together to work together towards a positive future.
The program was facilitated and coordinated by Go Goldfields (led by our Family Violence Action Group) and Central Goldfields Shire Council (through the ‘Changing Our Story’ project). Events were attended by over 600 people with participation from families, young people, elders, artists, business and community leaders, and service providers who all share a passion for change.
We commissioned a highlights video (below) to capture the breadth of this important program. Footage was captured and edited by our fledgling ‘Youth Media Team’ – local young filmmakers Harry Cain and Loui Froia were mentored and guided by Leonie Van Eyk.
If the link above is broken please visit: https://vimeo.com/386653602
The 2019 program launched at the Resource Centre, on 25th November and included a welcome and acknowledgments plus a moving and poignant delivery of lived experience stories from victim-survivors of family violence. Activities including lantern making, making of paper marigolds, and a large community voices banner, all led to important discussions.
Zonta launched their colourful ‘R for Respect’ flower garden in Phillips Gardens. And a meaningful quiet space for sharing was held by Indigenous artist and cultural consultant Georgia MacGuire, and Yorta Yorta artist Donna Blackwell in a women’s weaving and yarning circle under the trees.
Central Goldfields Shire Council staff participated through the work of their Changing Our Story project including the facilitation of the ‘Chalking About Respect’ initiative. Youth devised messages such as “IT STARTS WITH YOU”, “SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT”, and “OUR FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS” were ‘chalked’ across the Council precinct and Station Domain while young people were ‘Chalking About Respect’ with passers-by.
Maryborough Regional Library held two ‘Storytime Sessions’ for little ones and their carers with gender-neutral books and activities. While the Central Goldfields Gallery hosted a conversation with three local female artists discussing the power of arts in giving voice to issues such as these and highlighting how art can be a powerful platform for change.
The 16 day program drew to a close on the eve of Human Rights Day with a Vigil held in the Domain with over 90 people in attendance, including members of the local CFA, and police force. Speakers included Lucy Roffey (CEO Central Goldfields Shire Council), Sr. Sergeant Paul Huggett (Vic Police, Maryborough), Leigh Williamson (President, Maryborough Rotary), Bronwen Haywood (local chapter Zonta President), Amanda Conn (Survivor and Go Goldfields Expert Reference Group) and local musicians.
Vigil attendees were left with words from three outstanding local young women; Shelby Steel, Rose McNabb and Lily Cain, delivering letters to their future selves and the world they would like to see for children to come.
THE VIGIL WAS A RESPECTFUL AND POWERFUL OCCASION, A REMINDER TO US ALL THAT FAMILY VIOLENCE AND GENDER EQUITY CONTINUES TO AFFECT US ALL, AND IT IS ONLY MAKE CHANGE TOGETHER.
Go Goldfields worked with local collaborators included Anglicare Victoria, Central Goldfields Shire Council, Centre for Non-Violence, Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre, Maryborough Education Centre, Maryborough Regional Library, Maryborough and District Gallery, Rotary Club of Maryborough, Victoria Police, and Zonta and look forward to expanding this program in 2020.