When Education Favours Division over Diversity
                               Sydney Morning Herald Article (20th February 2010)

There is nothing more precious in a democracy than a well-resourced public education system that provides opportunity for all youngsters, regardless of income, race and class. Without it, I would have failed. Without it, the esteem and confidence of our youngsters is just another commodity. The great American historian and teacher Howard Zinn, who has just died, was a champion of public education. His textbook A People's History of the United States challenged the propaganda of established power that claimed democracy as a gift from the top, not fought for by us. "I wanted my students," he wrote, "to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble." In congratulating all school leavers, I urge you to remember success in life does not necessarily come from prizes. What is important is the person you are, the kindness you express, the compassion you feel and the courage you show. Go into the world and relinquish the safety of silence and make trouble - remembering that the most important trouble is calling to account those who assume power over our lives. This is an edited extract of an address by journalist and filmmaker John Pilger to the Sydney Boys High School annual speech night.

 From   Salima L

Times Are Changing 03/03/2010
Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras was noticeably a little different this year with the addition of a new group joining the parade. They weren’t in tights, sparkles or garters, however this quiet nondescript group got a tremendous amount of attention.

Yes, the largest parent body in the southern hemisphere, the Federation for Parents and Citizens Associations NSW with a 150 year history, embarked on a new frontier, marching for the first time in the Mardi Gras.

Supporting PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) a non-profit voluntary organisation whose members have a common goal of keeping families together, provided the invitation and the Federation happily accepted.

The Federation was well represented with its President, Di Giblin, Treasurer, Kathy Greer, Metropolitan VP John Webb, fellow executive officers and regional councilors, all who walked the 10 km from the city to Moore Park to cheers of tens of thousands of Sydney siders and her guests. The support was overwhelming with high fives and random hugs from strangers as the parents received a warm welcome from participants and onlookers alike.

Many young gay and lesbian students experience persecution and ridicule whilst at high school, with parents who either do not understand or chose to ignore their child’s distress due to shame. This can often result in depression, bullying and in some cases suicide.

2010, thirty years on from the first Mardi Gras the Federation has reached a mile stone in championing equality, tolerance and compassion.

Yes 2010 will be the first of many marches the Federation will support under the banner of Kindness. “We need to lead by example if we expect our school to be harmonious safe environments, free from judgment and persecution”, Michael Lloyd-White explained to one of the many journalists and camera crews covering the Mardi Gras.

The World Kindness Movement Flag was proudly displayed by the parents along the route gaining a lot of interest and support. Thanks to the Federation, the groundswell of support for the message of the Kindness continues to grow.

From   Michael L-W




First Post! 03/03/2010
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A Goodwill Ambassador


March 2010



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