Careering into the Future

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A good life is celebrated with rituals that mark significant milestones. Along with birthdays and commitments a rite of passage that many of us know is the ending of a career.

On April 6th  friends and people with whom I have journeyed gathered to celebrate my leaving Micah Projects after more than 11 years of advocacy and solidarity with Forgotten Australians, people who experience social,isolation as well as those who struggle to find a place in our culture and community.

The invitation to celebrations that went out through various networks included this amazing image that says much about my work and ethic. A few years ago I created “ Bananaman”, a promotional character for our fledgling social enterprise in South Brisbane. That enterprise now includes Hope Street Café.

The celebrations of farewell were led by people I have supported,  work colleagues, and members of the local West End Community.  As well as the obligatory speeches the ritual included a time of memories, cards and signing of the Banana suit. I am grateful to those who spoke, took pics and gathered for this rite of passage in  my 65th year.

 

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Nothing is quite as humbling as listening to other people speak of their memories of you. Work in the community sector can be demanding and  challenging as much as rewarding.  It is a diverse workforce that brings together people who can organise, strategize, plan, create, report, write grants, lobby,  budget, debrief, unpack, defuse, drive, intervene, document, and make a decent coffee.

The comments in memories and written on cards and the banana suit reminded me that I bring  a sense of  joy and  humour to  my work and life.  It probably isn’t one of the seven habits of highly effective people. It has been my strength and takes me back to a childhood memory. I was a at a footy match with a school friend when I over heard one of the parents say: “that Tony Robertson is a cheeky lad but you can’t help liking him”.

Bananaman has made  his curtain call.  The work of social change and advocacy includes wild humour, a good dose of eccentricity and a costume from eBay. The costume may be retired but the eccentricity and wild humour will continue in my work as a Community Jester.

 

Blog Action Day 2013: Food is a Human Right and Healthy Food is the Right Choice

World Food Day 2013

Did you know that October 16 is World Food Day?

Did you also know that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right to food as part of the right to an adequate standard of living?

Did you know that one in eight people go to bed hungry every night. This isn’t about a lack of food. It’s about the imbalances in access to resources like fertile land and water. So, I hear you ask: “Who controls these resources? Is it farmers who produce our food? Is it we who eat it?” Find  some of the answers here

Do you know where the food you buy at your supermarket comes from? Do you know what chemicals and additives are in the food you eat? Have you ever asked yourself these questions before?

The answers might surprise you, even alarm you. However, we can do something to balance up the food justice equation. Have a look at the ideas from Oxfam Australia and the USA site for World Food Day.

Need some more inspiration to get you committed to food justice?

“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for the minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr., American Civil Rights Leader

“Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead, American anthropologist

“When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

– Archbishop Dom Helder Camara of Brazil

“Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

– Anne Frank, Holocaust Victim 

“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one.”

– Mother Teresa

Supporting Blog Action Day 2013