If you have noticed people standing in silent circles around Kibble Park, Gosford, Terrigal or Avoca beaches, you have witnessed a silent vigil conducted by Central Coast for Social Justice to draw attention to the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
At the Circles of Silence, the most recent of which was held on April 30 at Kibble Park, a small group of people stand in a public place for half an hour, with a bell rung at regular intervals, and the names of the asylum seekers who have died on Manus Island and Nauru are read out.
Banners tell passers-by the reason for the vigil, and information handouts are available for those who are interested.
“The Circle of Silence is an opportunity to let the community and our politicians know that we want humane and compassionate refugee policies that reflect a government with a moral compass,” Central Coast for Social Justice Chairperson, Shayne Davy, said.
“We stand to express our solidarity with people seeking asylum and refugees experiencing injustice who are being silenced.
“Although numbers at the Circles have been small, there have been opportunities to speak with members of the public and give information.”
Regular attendee, Libby Checkley, said there was power in speaking the names of those who had died.
“It is sobering to reflect on their lives and deaths, but also to consider my own responses to injustice,” she said.
Central Coast for Social Justice is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to draw the community’s attention to social justice issues, focusing on the treatment of refugees, climate change policies/environmental issues and issues relating to indigenous communities.
It recently organised a Funeral for Coal on the Gosford Waterfront, in conjunction with Gosford Anglican Church.
The group’s next event will be a Welcome to Refugees Picnic on June 16, from 11:30am to 3pm, at Memorial Park, The Entrance.
The picnic will mark the beginning of Refugee Week and is supported by Central Coast Council.
Media release, Apr 28
Central Coast for Social Justice