Novocastrians join together in support of Harmony Week

I was very proud to see our city unite for Harmony Week last week after the tragic events in Christchurch only days earlier.

It was amazing to see how quickly our community and others rallied to mourn the tragedy and condemn hatred in one voice. 

Stronger together: Newcastle's ethnic, religious and cultural diversity is integral to the city's identity.

Stronger together: Newcastle's ethnic, religious and cultural diversity is integral to the city's identity.

The emotional support, well-wishes and acts of human kindness I've witnessed and read since Friday, March 15, have been uplifting.

During an address I gave to a multicultural congregation at Jesmond Neighbourhood Centre on Saturday as part of Harmony Week, I was heartened to be in the presence of so many welcoming smiles and friendly faces.

Our city has long been committed to supporting cultural diversity. Newcastle became just the second city in Australia to declare itself a Refugee Welcome Zone back in 2004. 

We reaffirmed the Refugee Welcome Zone pledge in 2015, as part of our Multicultural Plan 2016-2019, a plan we're no updating.

This 2016-19 iteration includes a statement affirming our culturally and religiously diverse city, which respects the rights of all our residents. 

It's a commitment to ensuring that Newcastle's ethnic, religious and cultural diversity is an integral part of our city's identity and intrinsic to its vitality.

Thank you to all Novocastrians who stepped out in support of Harmony Week last week. 

Your support and recognition for this important cause is welcomed.

Matt Murray