On March 25th, 103 young students and staff attended the 2022 Launch Day for ERA For Change where the theme “Advocacy – calling for change” was explored. The Launch Day successfully enabled students and staff across Edmund Rice schools to broaden their social networks and participate in discussions around advocacy. All who attended participated in a variety of workshops intended to build their advocacy skills. In doing so, ERA for Change’s Launch Day allowed the empowerment of students and teachers in their advocacy journeys and facilitated the preparation of national advocacy projects in 2022.
Era For Change Launch Day Reflection
Opening the 2022 ERA for Change Launch Day, Emma Heyink, a leader in the School Strike for Climate movement, reminded us of the power that lies in youth advocacy. Listening to her story, her passion and her aspirations, Emma sparked a fire inside every student, a fire fuelled by a desire to make change.
Following a successful keynote presentation, students and staff participated in various workshops covering a range of topics. We were lucky to hear Alanna Raymond from Reconciliation Australia speak about incorporating reconciliation in education. We were also very fortunate to have Dr. Barbara Kinnane from the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), as well as Kyla Raby from the Red Cross. And of course, we had our very own Richard Mavros speak to students about the difference between advocacy and activism.
Following each session, students were encouraged to share their experiences and notes from all workshops as a large group. From these workshops, students were taught the value of ‘educating your peers’ as a means to inspire and empower others. This was highlighted as an essential element to any campaign.
Students were also taught the importance of unity in campaigns, how more voices can help to enforce change and take advocacy to the next level. Students were reminded of the importance of presenting oneself as a united front and working in solidarity towards a mutual cause.
Launch Day this year empowered and inspired many students with an understanding of how to make change both more effectively, and where to go from having a simple idea to creating national or even global change like Emma Heyink.