Elle Spring, an advocacy support officer at CBM Australia, writes this blog from the Voices for Justice Conference in Canberra.
The annual four-day Voices for Justice Conference in Canberra has kicked off and day two is already coming to a close. The conference offers participants a unique opportunity to gather with like-minded Christians from across Australia and raise a united voice to influence our nation’s political leaders and government policy for the benefit of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. The practical conference aims to equip and inspire new and experienced advocates alike.
I’m here with Stevie Wills, a community education officer also from CBM Australia. Stevie is an incredibly talented performance poet, public speaker and advocate. Myself and other attendees at Voices for Justice have been fortunate enough to hear Stevie’s latest poem about Foreign Aid performed for the first time! It’s a strong message to remind us that foreign aid is not about charity, it’s about development, and Australia can do more in promoting a just and equal world for all.
I’m thrilled to share Stevie’s poem here and I strongly encourage you to take a few moments of your time to read and absorb the beautifully crafted words.
between the notion of generosity
and the allocation of equity
to the foreign aid budget
it would remain less than one percent
of gross national income.
Promises alongside the United Nations
from our fair share
to give a fair go.
A fair go
is a hand up
over a hand out
minimisation of death by preventable causes
separation of sewage
from drinking, washing water
sanitation and skilled attendants
at the births of sons and daughters
education, souls expanding their borders
Australia, we could give our fair share
allocate still more yet
leave the lions share
around ninety-nine percent
to look after our own.
Does that not negate
the need to designate
who’s first looked after?
Enabled to look after
our own and others
So let us speak up for fair
speak out for right.
Let compassion prevail over fear
hope transcend despair
generosity triumph over insecurity
love conquer apathy.
Let us look not only to our own interests
but also to the interests of others.
Let us speak justice into being
speaking voices of justice.
By Stevie Wills