In February, RMCC successfully hosted two screenings of the Australian documentary Constance on the Edge. Filmed over ten years, it follows Constance and her family as they try to rebuild their lives in rural Australia and transcend their painful pasts.
The response to the film was wonderful. Everyone applauded at the end of the documentary, having been captivated by Constance’s humour and strength. Watching her family overcome their challenges with resilience was also very inspiring.
After the film screening, we ran a panel discussion and Q&A session that lasted for half an hour. The purpose of this discussion was to allow the audience to further understand the resettlement challenges that refugee and migrant youth in Australia face. Our four panelists, Sherry-Rose Bih, Meriam Siraj, Aref Ramazani and Iltaf Hussain shared their first-hand experiences on racism, discrimination, mental health, and support systems.
Audience members also asked questions and provided input on how to address issues facing refugees and migrants during their resettlement, particularly in response to racism and discrimination. Our panellists were unanimous in thinking the best way to address these issues is to hold people accountable for their words and actions, and to educate people on being more open-minded and respectful. As Sherry-Rose puts it, “You don’t realize you’re different until someone else points it out.” A celebration of our diverse culture and inclusiveness, instead of pointing out someone’s differences ought to be the way to go.
A consistent theme of the night for both the documentary and the panel discussion was how we need to be more supportive to refugees and migrants in order to help ease their journey as they resettle into a new community. Arguably, we can all make a difference, whether it is volunteering with an organization invested in this issue or simply providing a helping hand and being a friendly face to a recently resettled family in your neighbourhood. We as an organization assist with refugee and migrant family’s resettlement in Melbourne through our tailored services that build confidence, empower and educate, but the time has come to question what are you doing to help?