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College call for harmony

Beaconhills College marked National Harmony Day today (21 March) by students and staff wearing a touch of orange, to show their support of a multicultural and inclusive Australia.

Pakenham Campus Senior School students also had a visit last week from award-winning Australian writer, editor and lawyer Alice Pung.

Ms Pung has written numerous books including Growing up Asian in Australia, Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter, along with many articles for the New York Times and The Age. This year on Australia Day, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to literature.

Ms Pung shared her family’s inspiring story, and how she was born to Chinese parents from Cambodia who had fled a refugee camp and the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge. After seeking asylum in Australia in 1980, Ms Pung grew up in Braybrook, where at times she experienced racism at school.

“On this Harmony Day, let’s think about the silent assumptions we make with judgements of people,” Ms Pung said.

Harmony Day celebrates cultural diversity and aims to foster inclusiveness, respect and the idea that people of all different backgrounds can make a valuable contribution to our society.