Anti Racism Project Launch
Amplifying Community Voices in the East , ACVE, an Anti Racism Project launched on 24 Aug, with the auspices of Eastern Community Legal Centre ECLC and Partners Communities Council On Ethnic Issues CCOEI, Indian Care, Chinese Centre for Holistic Health and EMR Councils of Boroondara, Manningham, Maroondah, Knox and Whitehorse.
Multicultural Multifaith Melbourne was represented with State MPs Paul Hamer and Will Fowles, Commissioner at Victorian Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission To Allen, Faith and Community Leaders, Agencies, Service Providers, etc.
A Panel Discussion with the 5 Project Ambassadors was facilitated by Sarah Ozeer.
An animation video showing a lived experiences of racism, with roles, rights and responsibilities was also released in English, with Punjabi, Farsi, Mandarin, Cantonese, etc to follow.
As the MC, Dilnaz the COMMON Roving Ambassador had the privilege of keeping the audience engaged with a difficult subject. She advised that we all have a collective responsibility to Stand Up and Speak Out.
The advertisement seen in media says, Racism Stops With Me.
Racism Stops With WE!
A Visit to Jew Town in India
President of WIN and COMMON Jessieeji and her family were holidaying in Kerala, India, where they visited a Jew Town in Cochin. Below are some photos they have shared.
Meeting with the Interfaith Tour Program
On Thursday June 16th, COMMON and WIN (CWA) team was meeting four women involved in an Inter-religious Youth movement in France: Radia(Muslim), Floriane(Agnostic), Marie(Christian) and Maud(Jewish), travelling to 13 countries since october 2021, meeting people who act to build Peace and highlight unity amongst diversity. These young women were conducting interviews and also were interested in peace and women in interfaith.
CWA president Jessiee Kaur wrote about further experience shared during their visit to Melbourne:
Yesterday we had Marie, Maud, Radia and Floriane spend the day with us, the Singh family . It started off with them spending the morning at the Officer Gurdwara meeting the Sikh community.
This was the first time they heard about Sikhism and ever met a Sikh person.
We listened to Dya Singh’ a Kirtan; enjoyed the vegetarian food and saw the eco programs been carried out at the Gurdwara. The pictures above are of all four of them with Uncle Gene Blow and myself shown around by Harpreet Singh. 🙏
Connecting with Communities through Singing and Dancing
CWA Technical Officer Nadia has been busy this week attending two community events where she got to meet with interesting people from various faith, cultural and professional backgrounds.
The first event was The Biggest Morning Tea hosted by the City of Kingston, to raise awareness and support for the Cancer Council Victoria; featuring the Mayor of Kingston Cr Steve Staiks. Nadia, who has started to volunteer in running Indonesian traditional dance afterschool program at Westall Hub, met with fellow volunteers who run some amazing programs free for the local residents, such as conversation classes, knitting group, star-weaving project against domestic violence, and many more. She was fascinated when being taught by an Armenian woman how to say “Hello, how are you” in her language – which sounded close to “Parev, inch baeses”
The second event was the 10th birthday of The Walk to support Monash Children Hospital. The Walk was a collaboration with the Friends Of The Children Foundation, founded by Shashi Kochhar, who also happens to chair the Monash Interfaith Gatherings Inc. Despite the cold wet morning this event was filled with music, warmth, appreciation and childrens’ laughter. Nadia and some Monash medical students performed a couple of songs in the form of a choir at this event.
City of Monash Eid Celebration
On Friday 20 May, CWA Roving Ambassador Dilnaz and her husband Homi, as representatives of interfaith Networks and Multicultural Connection, were invited to the Monash Council Eid Celebration, organised in partnership with the women of Pakistan, Africa and South East Asia.
All faiths and cultures were warmly welcomed. Victorian Police gave a presentation on Islamophobia, Racism, Vilification and how to stay safe. Briana from EDVOS spoke about access to Family Violence Prevention Services.
Everyone relished a delicious authentic Sri Lankan meal while enjoying Arabic entertainment.
It was great to meet members of the Monash Interfaith Gathering (Heather, Shashi, Kamala, etc) who have sent their greetings to all CWA members.
Special thank you to Sountharam for organising the “get together” for the Planning Committee. This was held to mark the timely submission of 2 grant applications for WIN and COMMON.
The 2 grants applied for by the CW Action Planning Committee are:
- For a grant from the Victorian Government Multicultural Festivals and Events program – for COMMON to run an event for UN International Day of Peace, September 2022; and
- For a grant from Casey Council for WIN to run an event for International Women’s Day March 2023.
We thought of Rosa who was unable to attend. And we wish Sountharam well for her procedure tomorrow.
Also, Nadia took photos which she will post.
Jamel kindly gave many of us a lift; and Jamel and Sountharam are progressing well with their tertiary studies.
It was a delight to see Jessiee today at today’s lively event, and we wish Dya many subscribers for his new song soon to be lodged on YouTube.
It was lovely to catch up with Jan after such a long time (though your presence was always felt through your solid contribution to the Planning Committee).
And Abe peformed a miracle turning up at the last minute! Welcome Abe.
Varsakhi Celebration in Officer Gurdwara
Members of CW action celebrating Varsakhi with Sikh community in Officer Gurdwara on 15th April 2022.
Thank you all so much for joining us in our final ‘service’ for the weeks celebration. Blessings.
UMMA Mosque Community Ramadan Iftar Dinner
UMMA Mosque Doncaster hosted their Community Ramadan Iftari Dinner on Tuesday 19 April. Cultural and Faith Leaders with Community Representatives were invited to break bread together and share initiatives for peace and progress.
Amad Kazi, Chairman of UMMA welcomed everyone and Zain was the MC. VMC Deputy Chair gave the welcome address and VMC Commissioner Abiyola was present.
Manningham Council was represented by Councilors Maybe and Geoff and Katrine Gabb of Council spoke of Strengthening Multicultural Connections. Fire Rescue Victoria, Interfaith Networks of Manningham, Whitehorse, Boroondara and Knox, Eastern Community Legal Centre, Melbourne Water, Representatives of the Dawoodi Bohri Muslim, Baha’i, Buddhist, Jewish and Zoroastrian faiths and neighbours of UMMA were present.
Abe Schwartz of the Jewish faith and COMMON, Dilnaz and Homi Billimoria of the Zoroastrian faith with Dilnaz representing Communities Council On Ethnic Issues (CCOEI), Women’s Health East (WHE), Eastern Health and Interfaith Networks shared a table, taking the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.
Annual Victorian Interfaith Networks Festival
COMMON and WIN Roving Ambassador, Dilnaz attended a recent interfaith event and shared the below article and photos.
On Sunday 27 March, Homi and I attended the Victorian State Interfaith Networks Annual Festival in Hoppers Crossing from 12 noon to 4.30pm. This was hosted by Wyndham and Melton Interfaith Networks /Councils and Faith Communities Council Of Victoria FCCV.
We met Abe from COMMON as well as Maria from Church of Scientology. Warm welcomes from the hosts enabled us to enjoy the event, learn much, share and care about peoples of all faiths and cultures.
Faith in Pandemic Times Art Exhibition
COMMON and WIN Technical Administrator Nadia participated in the “Faith in Pandemic Times” art exhibition at the Incinerator Gallery in Aberfeldie, which was organised by Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) and ran from 18 March to 3 April 2022.
It was fascinating and very soothing to view the artwork and messages of hope and encouragement shown in the artists’ description and in the art itself. Some were really amazing work. In addition, it was heart warming to meet some familiar faces again.
Springvale Hub Community Celebration
On Saturday 5 March 2022, WIN and COMMON Technical Administrator, Nadia with her family, participated in the Community Celebration event by the City of Greater Dandenong, representing their West Sumatran (Minang Saiyo) heritage through some traditional dances.
Other groups showcased at the event included: the Chinese Lion and Dragon dance, the Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony, a Cambodian singing group, a Chilean artist Pia Nesvara and so on. There were surrounding stalls selling and promoting all kinds of things from exotic teas to free short courses. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with children’s laughter, music and colourful people.
Prayer for Ukraine at St Paul’s Cathedral
We were in St Paul’s Cathedral on Flinders Street, for their daily Lent Service – so uplifting.
We lit candles and prayed for the health and safety of all peoples.
Photos and text were provided by Dilnaz, WIN and COMMON Roving Ambassador
AFRICAUSE-sponsored African (Ethiopian) Festival
From Box Hill in the east to Yarraville in the North, in 34 degree sweltering heat, COMMON members Dilnaz* and her husband, Homi, went to support the emerging and new migrant communities at the Ethiopian/African festival celebration, sponsored by AFRICAUSE. Dilnaz was asked to speak and she focused on 3 E’s, namely, opportunities for migrant communities. in:
*also member of WIN and Roving Ambassador for WIN and COMMON
Pillars of Light: a Multicultural Celebration of Chanukah
In celebrating the 8th Night of Chanukah, an Indigenous event with the theme of Reconciliation was held in Federation Square, on Sunday 5th December 2021, from 7pm. The event involved an Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony to kindle Chanukah candles. Furthermore there were four walks into the CBD, from North, South, East and West.
Elana Saks – Leader Youth for Human Rights, and Human Rights Officer of WIN and COMMON – took the West walk.
The above image was taken outside of the 1938 headquarters and meeting-place of the Australian Aborigines’ League (AAL), which was also one of Uncle William Cooper’s Footscray homes. The lady who currently owns that house, Christine Newman (not in this video), shared a few words too. The person who was speaking, Uncle Herb Patten, is currently a Director of the AAL, which nowadays stands for Aboriginal Advancement League.
In addition, Peter Haffenden (the man leaning on a stick), co-founder of a beautiful museum in the Footscray area called “Living Museum of the West”, spoke and invited us to visit the Living Museum. He also invited us particticularly to google the “Still Here” virtual exhibition, which is a story of early Aboriginal Footscray curated by an esteemed Elder, Uncle Larry Walsh.
NAIDOC Event 2021
NAIDOC Week was being acknowledged and celebrated across Australia. I, as a migrant, am participating and learning about caring and sharing:
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Thanks to Monash Council for organising a relevant authentic information sharing event for us. HEAL COUNTRY is the Theme; Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Colin Hunter gave the Welcome To Country. He rightly said that all Australians, Indigenous, Multicultural, Multifaith, ALL, have to work together to look after our land.
Renowned artist, Mandy Nicholson and her all-female dance group Djirri-Djirri performed beautiful dances with story telling of earth, nature and conservation. Finally, young Aboriginal musician Keehan, Cape York song writer and performer, rocked the hall with her ballads of hope and happiness. There were scones and tarts with delicious filling made from Aboriginal recipe by Pawa Catering.
Finally, I wore my precious NAIDOC Hoodie, supported by organisations that I volunteer with including Eastern Health and womens health east.
No Excuse For Abuse! Say no To Violence!
Article written by Dilnaz
Award from The Rotary
RESPECT SPORT Event
Members of COMMON and WIN Dilnaz and Homi attended the event; and Dilnaz shared her story below.
Dilnaz Billimoria, member of WIN and COMMON and many other organisations, was recently honoured with a prestigious Award from Rotary. She has kindly permitted the below replication of the message she wrote to CW Action TV.
In her own words Dilnaz wrote:
In my volunteer work, I assist and support many groups and organisations, including Rotary. I was delighted, albeit surprised, to be the recipient of the Paul Harris Fellows Award 2021,awarded by The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, in the Centenary Year of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand. This is in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world. This award is not often given to non-rotarians and hence even more cherished by me!
Paul Harris started Rotary back in 1905 in Chicago USA, with a vision to share camaraderie and collaborate to support Community. This vision is going strong over a century later!
Congratulations from COMMON.
Not all Multicultural Multifaith events have to be across a table in a hall. Manningham Interfaith Network MIN organised the annual RESPECT SPORT event across the green of Doncaster Lawn Bowls Club on Sunday 16 May. Members of all Faiths and Cultures attended this event to play Lawn Bowls, a game not well known and not often played by migrant communities in Australia! Under the kind tutelage of the Club Seniors, not only did we learn about the game, but also about sharing of our stories and caring for each other.
A multicultural feast of sizzling sausages on the Barbie prepared by Rotary Doncaster, freshly baked scones , cream and jam by the Club ladies and piping hot samosas by IrfanBhai made the day complete. Trophies and medals were awarded at the end of the event.
Inter-generational players from age 8 to age 88 won and lost to happy hurrahs, playing the game in the spirit of community and camaraderie.
Social cohesion, promotion of peace and helping harmony takes many forms and Respect through Sport is a crucial way of levelling us all in the field, appreciating each other and applauding all.
VESAK: Buddha Day (birthday)
Homi and Dilnaz Billimoria, members of COMMON and WIN, had the honour of attending the inauguration of the Buddha Day Festival at Federation Square on Saturday 15 May by Buddha Light International Association Victoria (BLiAV). The warmth of the welcome and generous hospitality helped battle the chilly weather. It was a series of lovely ceremonies of the Dragon and Lion Dances, followed by speeches from Mr. Neil Angus, MP, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs; Mr. Tien Kieu, Labour MP, Venerables; and David Yu, Chair BLIAV.
The couple’s favourite ritual were: bathing of the Buddha; walking in the creatively constructed Lotus Garden; meeting old friends and making new ones. They all had a spiritual healing experience in the best city in the world, Melbourne! “Say Good Words, Think Good Thoughts, Do Good Deeds” is a similar teaching from many ancient faiths including Zoroastrianism and Buddhism.
Our good wishes to all for a happy healing VESAK 🙏🌷
Article written by Dilnaz and edited by Nadia
Secrets of The Roots
We witnessed an incredible dance event called “Secrets of the Roots”, courtesy of one of the incredibly talented dancers, Rachel Shields, who lovingly and generously shares her Aboriginal culture with those keen to learn. The gig was part of “Yirramboi”, Austalia’s only First Nations-led festival. It was nice also to connect with dear friends in the audience: Nela Trifkovic, Jamel Kaur Singh, Jessiee Kaur Singh, Liza Dezfouli as well as staff from the wonderful Armagh (see https://au.iofc.org/) and their guests.
There is a plethora of Indigenous opportunities for those who want to partake… so, as a challenge for you all: coming up later this month are Sorry Day, followed directly by a week of activities (in Melbourne, and Australia-wide!) in which you can truly reconcile… Will you get involved?
Shavua Tov (have a great week)
Originally written by Abe, edited by Nadia
CW Action dinner at the Taste of Taj Clayton 29/4/2021
On Thursday night, 30 members and their guests gathered for a combined COMMON and WIN Interfaith event.
The program comprised the Acknowledgement of Country and of current Holy days from the Baha’i, Hindu, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Sikh and Jewish faiths.
Everyone briefly introduced themselves, and a vegetarian feast was had by all.
A highlight of the evening was the camaraderie between new and old friends. And the Multifaith chant sung by Jamel.
A coming together of Multifaith Multicultural Melbourne where we talked , laughed, sang and and broke bread together.
It was so great to see this camaraderie of folks from all faiths and walks of life coming together after Covid lockdowns to share and care. We said a prayer for all those world wide who are suffering in Covid and said thanks for staying safe in Australia.
The program comprised the Acknowledgement of Country and of current Holy days from the Baha’i, Hindu, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Sikh and Jewish faiths.
Visit to the Sri Vakrathunde Vinayagar Lord Ganesha Temple
Month of March is celebrated as Cultural Diversity Month, with 21st March as Harmony (also festival of Navrooz for Zoroastrians, Baha’is and many Muslims).
As Zoroastrians and Bohri Muslims, a group of us visited the amazingly renovated Sri Vakrathunde Vinayagar Lord Ganesha Temple in the city of Knox, Melbourne.
120 artisans in India and 20 flown-in artisans in Melbourne worked day and night at a cost of over $3 million to create a marvel of Dravidian architecture for Hindu devotees from India , Sri Lanka, Fiji, etc.
Special month-long consecration ceremonies were taking place; and we participated in Puja (prayers), Performance and Prasad (blessed foods).🙏
Pictures and script by Dilnaz, recipient of the Council Communities of Ethnic Issues (CCOEI) award for Excellence in Service to the Multicultural Community. Posted and edited by Nadia, Project and Technical Officer, COMMON.
Covid19 Isolation Artwork event by MIN
Dilnaz [from MIN (Manningham Interfaith Network) and CWA (COMMON WIN Action)]; and Nadia (from CWA) with her family attended an Isolation Artwork completion event organised by MIN; where people presented messages of hope and compassion from all faiths and cultures, in various pictures and languages, as a means of encouragement during the isolation period.
More photos below.
A joint Event: the Celebration of Guru Gobindji’s Birth Anniversary / Remembering Invasion Day/Australia Day /and World Harmony Weekend
We were invited to celebrate Guru Gobindji birth anniversary, Invasion Day, and Australia Day; as well as honouring the World Interfaith Harmony Week (1-7 Feb) at the new Gurdwara in Officer, Vic.
What beautiful kirtaan singing and musical playing by Dyaji, his daughter and son in law, whole heartedly supported by the intergenerational audience from 4 month old Tehsil to friends in their 90s!
We convey our appreciation and gratitude to Gyanidasji Sevadasji, and all the volunteers who went out f their way to make us feel so welcome💙
; and the amazing veg lunch from hot puris (Indian bread) to tasty sabzi ,(veg and paneer dishes) to fresh pulao (rice), to yummy laddos(sweet dessert) and chilled mango lassi (buttermilk drink, most refreshing in summer) were better than any restaurant💜
Australian Aborigines League in protest of Germany’s persecution of Jews in 1938
“Officially, on behalf of the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, we are sorry that the 1938 consul general in Melbourne would not accept the letter of the Aborigines League nor forward it on to the political leadership here in Berlin as would have been the right and morally correct thing for a consular official to do.”
They were the words that took 82 years to receive. Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism – Dr Felix Klein – issued an apology for the German consulate’s refusal to accept the petition of Yorta Yorta man William Cooper. Read more in the Australian Jewish News.
His Statement is enshrined in the Holocaust Museum in Melbourne; and in Poland, Hungary and Germany. 80 years later, in 2018, at age 90, Uncle Boydie Cooper, grandson of William, went to Berlin and presented the Statement in person to the German Authorities. CCOEI member Dilnaz Billimoria, also of WIN attended the premiere of a documentary recording this 82 years of history, narrated from the heart by Aboriginal Elders, Holocaust Survivors and Jewish Representatives from Australia and around the world. For more on this story, go to ABC News and the SMH.
His Statement is enshrined in the Holocaust Museum in Melbourne; and in Poland, Hungary and Germany. 80 years later, in 2018, at age 90, Uncle Boydie Cooper, grandson of William, went to Berlin and presented the Statement in person to the German Authorities. CCOEI member Dilnaz Billimoria (thank you Dilnaz for this CCOEI newsletter 40th edition 2020 article) attended the premiere of a documentary recording this 82 years of history, narrated from the heart by Aboriginal Elders, Holocaust Survivors and Jewish Representatives from Australia and around the world.
For more on the Williiam Cooper event, please see the video and newspaper articles at:
UN International Day of Peace 2020
2019 Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations at Blackburn Gurdwara
Women of the Whitehorse Interfaith Network, representing different faiths were invited by the Sikh Gurdwara in Blackburn to participate in Guru Nanak Jayanti (birthday of Guru Nanak) celebrations November 2019. We attended Kirtan and Simran(music programs) and were served delicious fresh vegetarian food in the ‘langar’ (food service ) by Sevaks (volunteers). We women were warmly welcomed by our Sikh Brothers and Sisters and explained about the Sikh faith, with equality and equity for all.
Article and photo by Dilnaz, member of COMMON and WIN