"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses Harmony Week 2023.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
This week, Australia celebrates Harmony Week – a week-long celebration of the wonderful cultural diversity of our country.
Diversity is at the heart of Australia’s identity as a nation, with more than half of all Australians being born overseas or having at least one parent who was born overseas.
Harmony Week is the perfect opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations around diversity and multiculturalism; we’re all united by the Aussie values of respect, freedom, fairness, equal opportunity and democracy. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for all Australians to embrace cultural diversity and celebrate what we have in common.
People from many different cultures make wonderful and valuable contributions to our community every day, and we should be proud of our strong and successful multicultural society.
Last year, IMPACT Community Services was named as one of the 30 most inclusive employers in Australia, and as the Managing Director of this organisation I couldn’t be more proud. It’s not just about talking the talk, it’s about real respect and belonging for all.
It is about sharing details about ourselves, what is unique and important to us. It is about opening ourselves up to listening and learning about the perspectives of others, and not just as a courtesy. Actually putting aside any personal bias, opinion and beliefs and being curious about the differences in others and how this difference can support our own backgrounds, growth and experience. Genuinely appreciating these differences without judgement and considering how others wisdom, worldviews and experiences can complement our own.
We want IMPACT to be a place where every single employee feels safe, valued and included, and that means continually working on making our workplaces and sites an inclusive environment where everyone is accepted. Sounds easy however the reality is that some days achieving this feels incredibly ambitious. We therefore need to remain focused and committed, never losing sight of its importance and ensuring that each of our team share the same commitment.
Share an aspect of your culture with your friends, family and colleagues. Be open to learning something new about the people in your lives and your communities.
Create space to have meaningful conversations that explore the richness of others perspectives, while celebrating and embracing your own uniqueness.
Together, we can create change that eliminates all forms of racial discrimination.