December 19, 2011
In 2011 the White Ribbon Committee set about ensuring that all New Zealanders would be able to hear the White Ribbon message. That means working with ethnic communities on a community-by-community basis, acknowledging that each is unique and on a continuum towards non-violence, but not necessarily at the same point.
The catch-cry is that ‘there is no excuse for violence including culture’ and this has been picked up by communities across New Zealand culminating in a White Ribbon Dinner held at Police National Headquarters withGregory Fortuin(former Race Relations Conciliator) inspiring the audience to step up and take a stand.
But that’s not all. The campaign developed a number of translated posters and expects this to continue. These posters are available by download from here. We hope to increase the range in 2012.
The campaign has also been seeking out White Ribbon Ambassadors from all ethnic groups.
We recognise that change must come from within and having men from your own community stand up has far more potential to inspire change. If you know of someone who is inspirational and can lead through example click here and download the nomination forms. We need people to step up and provide that leadership role.
As the reach of White Ribbon grows, we are being asked to speak at events and activities across New Zealand. We hope these messages are then carried back into families where the real debate and change occurs. Here are some of the most recent functions we have attended:
- A function to acknowledge the work of over 165 Maori, Pacific and Ethnic wardens in ensuring safe outcomes for our communities; in particular their magnificent work during the Rugby World Cup. The wardens signed the White Ribbon banner as a continued commitment to ending violence towards women within their communities.
- The New Zealand Communities Football Cup that supports White Ribbon. Not only were there sporting competitions with 12 teams and 216 players but the event also included a Youth Workshopwhere migrant and refugee youth aged 12–18 provided feedback on the ‘Green Paper’ on how to improve the lives of young people. Our new White Ribbon Ambassador and former All White Harry Ngata was also able to attend, along withGregory Fortuin.
- The White Ribbon Dinner organised by the White Ribbon Ethnic Outreach. A fantastic event at the Police National Headquarters with a range of compelling speakers. We hope this event shared with Wellingtoncommunities the excitement and commitment for change that we know is building across New Zealand.
- The annual general meeting of the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils in Christchurch on 5 November where White Ribbon presented to the members and received very positive feedback.
- The Manawatu Multicultural Council annual dinner in Palmerston North on White Ribbon Day.
- An event to acknowledge Muslim men working in the areas of family violence and supporting the rights of Muslim women. This event built on Ratna Osman’s (Sisters In Islam, Malaysia) visit to New Zealandin July 2011 which focused on Muslim Women’s Rights as Human Rights.
- Diversity Forum in Hamilton on 20 August where we also met for the first time with the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils.
Ethnic communities have few leaders that are able to speak on such an important subject as family violence and we have been indebted toGregory Fortuinwho has been able to capture hearts and minds and inspire action.
It’s an exciting time and we’d like to thank all those who have been working on this project, especially the staff from NZ Police, Office of Ethnic Affairs, Department of Internal Affairs, Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Social Development and Families Commission, and the support from the ethnic communities themselves. Without your enthusiasm for change – the change is not possible.