Supporting rainbow youth
It’s Wear It Purple Day tomorrow, an annual international celebration to encourage rainbow young people to be proud of who they are.
Since 2010 Wear It Purple Day has supported LGBTQIA+ young people who experience bullying and harassment.
I’m not usually a purple wearer (even though it is a nice colour) so I had to dig around a bit. I even managed to find lavender coloured lipstick!
I am sharing this photo to show my support and encourage rainbow young people to embrace who they are, especially those of them I know and love. I encourage you to post a purple selfie on your socials too or text it and show someone you care.
Creating an inclusive workplace and society requires us all to be active allies.
You can demonstrate your support simply by adding pronouns to your email signature, following more diverse voices on your socials, and listening to learn because when we understand more we can do better.
Here's some resources to help:
In other news, the number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria are coming down and we hope that trend will continue. In the meantime, wherever you are, please stay safe and wear a mask. Remember there are resources on our website to support your wellbeing and help manage isolation. Take care.
Did you know?
Our colleagues in Queensland have made 100,000 calls in over 200 days to check in on people in quarantine or isolation. Well done to everyone making this possible.
International Day of the Disappeared, this Saturday
Every year on 30 August we remember and recognise the number of people missing and show solidarity to their loved ones. It is so hard to imagine what it would be like not to know where a loved one is or what happened to them. Those who go through this must have such strength, resolve and resilience.
During armed conflicts, other situations of violence, natural disasters, and migration, countless people go missing. This causes great anguish for their loved ones, who often make desperate attempts to find them. Waiting to learn about a missing person’s fate and whereabouts means living in limbo, between hope and despair, facing the pain of ongoing uncertainty and unable to grieve. Such uncertainty has severe psychological and emotional effects. It can also create legal, administrative, social, and economic difficulties.
If you want to know more, you can listen to this International Day of the Disappeared podcast which features a number of people within the ICRC's Restoring Family Links and Missing Unit, with some really incredible contributions from Nic Batch (Protection Manager, Australian Red Cross) and Portuguese Red Cross Society. You can also share these videos on your socials to mark this day.
Inspiration from our Humanitarian Settlement Program colleagues
Talking of those caught up in conflict and needing to flee for safety, we recently looked back over the past few years on what our Humanitarian Settlement Program has achieved since 2017.
We have provided a warm and dignified welcome to over 4,400 newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants, from more than 30 countries providing a safe and secure psychological base for them plus helping them with the really practical issues that need to happen when starting a new life in a new country.
That support, delivered with funding from the Australian Government, is made possible thanks to dozens of dedicated staff and volunteers, along with community members and our many, many partner organisations.
Meet some of the people involved in this incredible work:
A big thank you to all our Red Cross people and our partners for their dedication. It is tough for all as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions including those who were waiting to come to Australia to start their new lives and contribute to our country. We’ll continue to change as we need to and, most importantly, to be ready to welcome more people when the borders open.
Emergency Preparedness Week: 31 August to 6 September
This time last year we were only a few weeks of the first, and unusually early, fires for the season. Over the following months we all saw how it escalated and eventually became known as Black Summer.
We can’t stress the importance of being prepared enough. It often only takes a few changes before a disaster to make recovery post a disaster so much easier. For example - Do you know your neighbours? Do you have access to critical records and identification? Are you able to take what is special to you if you need to flee suddenly? Are your insurances up to date?
Next week is Emergency Preparedness Week from 31 August to 6 September. It is our annual Red Cross campaign to encourage Australians to prepare for disasters and emergencies, whenever or wherever they happen.
This year, more than ever before, the bushfires, the heat, the smoke and the pandemic have shown how emergencies can happen to any and all of us.
Being prepared can make an emergency less stressful, give you more control, and reduce the impact on you and those you love.
Red Cross has resources to help you get prepare including:
Get Prepared app: Download the app to locate your local emergency services contacts and where to find information, identify a safe meeting place for you and loved ones and create checklists of what to do and what to pack.
Survival kit: Build yours with our handy emergency checklist.
Emergency plan: Create a plan for your household to protect what matters most with RediPlan.
Emergencies can strike at anytime, anywhere. So set a calendar reminder to get prepared during this Emergency Preparedness Week.
Recovery Capitals guide
Recently we launched the Recovery Capitals (ReCap) guide for people, organisations and governments managing emergency recovery.
It was produced from research by the University of Melbourne and Massey University in New Zealand, with the support of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. Australian Red Cross was the lead partner organisation.
The guide aims to support wellbeing after disasters by providing evidence-based guidance to aid decision making. It identifies seven areas of recovery – natural, social, financial, cultural, political, built and human – and emphasises the interconnectedness between them. It is targeted and practical, and can be applied to any type of emergency, large or small.
It is the first of a series of resources. The guide is still a work in progress – it has been released so it can be piloted. You can download the guide here.
Touching base with and sharing your creative side
If you’ve been experimenting with finger painting, doodling, oil pastels on canvas or even making slime with your children, put that creativity to good use by creating a special edition card for our Real Good Gifts campaign.
This year, gifts are about helping us stay connected. We're celebrating community kindness with cards designed by the community – and we need your help. Check out our website for inspiration and don’t forget to upload your design by 4 September at https://gifts.redcross.org.au/pages/artwork-submission.
Unfortunately, I am ending this blog on a bit of a downer. But it is important. Australia wide everyone is seeing an increase in people trying to use the internet, phone calls and other devices to take advantage of people.
Please stay vigilant whenever you’re online or receiving calls from unknown numbers. We recently had a sophisticated scam incident involving a Red Cross colleague that resulted in a significant loss of their personal money.
Stop and think: Does it seem out of the ordinary, odd or suspicious? Would a reputable organisation contact you in this manner?
Block the scam: Never click on email or SMS links. Never download a program or give access to your device by executing commands.
Do your research: Always check and make sure it's the company they are purporting to be, don't respond to emails, voice messages. Go to their website and contact the organisation directly.
More next week.