Ngara McEwen, Mietta Scarlett and Piper Knox

Inaugural Diversity Symposium celebrates diversity and inclusion in Geelong

Geelong’s first Diversity Symposium was held yesterday in Norlane to promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion in Geelong.

The event was a partnership between the region’s peak diversity organisations – Diversitat Aged Support, Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative and Geelong Rainbow Inc.

In the spirit of COVID-19, all participants attended online, enjoying training on; working with CALD communities, a workshop on LGBTI diversity and inclusion and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural safety session.

Diversitat Aged Support General Manager Robyn Martinez said the feedback from over 70 participants was overwhelming.

“Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to our online Diversity Symposium! Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from facilitators and participants alike we are already planning our next event,” Ms Martinez said.

Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative Chief Executive Officer Lisa Briggs said the partnership between Geelong’s peak diversity organisations was essential.

“Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative was pleased to be part of this inaugural event and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Diversitat and Geelong Rainbow Inc to provide the Geelong community with access to training, information and resources on the importance of centring the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their experiences,” Ms Briggs said.

Geelong Rainbow Inc president Andrew Guillaume said the event played an important role in creating awareness and facilitating support between all communities.

“The collaboration of Geelong Rainbow Inc, Diversitat Aged Support and Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative is the meeting of like-minded people who share the vision of uniting people with one clear message – we are stronger together,” Mr Guillaume said.

“The inaugural Diversity Symposium is evidence of that.”

“Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion is something the LGBTIQA+ community is renowned for, and we are very excited to be moving forward with our community allies.”

“In uncertain times, one thing is for certain – now, more than ever, it is essential to celebrate not only our similarities, but our differences.”

There was also culturally-inspired entertainment and support from the Piano Bar by Joss Russell, One Spirit Africa, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural dances from Mietta Scarlett, Ngara McEwen and Piper Knox.

The event was funded by Multicultural Festivals and Events Victoria.