Stand Up in Sydney

Campaigning for change article written on the 20 Sep 2010

It was a glorious day in Sydney for Stand Up 2010 – the sun was shining and many people were giving me and my friends from the Minning Minni Kaiwarine Indigenous Family Dance group some very strange looks as we made the trek from the car to First Fleet Park, I guess not many people were expecting to encounter a fully painted up Indigenous dance group strolling the streets with spears and boomerangs in hand as they made their way to the harbour that morning . The group definitely was an impressive site to see.

The in Rhythm drummers set the scene for the day tapping out a few tunes, before Stuart McMinn, the leader of the Indigenous dance took the stage. Their performance was amazing and stirred the crowds of people lazing around and soaking up the stunning harbour views to “Stand Up” come over and take an interest in what was going on.

Alistair Gee from Act for Peace gave a short speech on the importance of the Millennium Development Goals and invited all the on lookers to join us in making a noise for the Millennium Development Goals at one o clock. Make Poverty History and Stand Up volunteers worked feverishly to hand out hundreds of harmonicas, whistle and rice shakers to all those wanting to take park in time. Then right on cue, the noise-making goodie bags were empty and the noise began!

It started with around three hundred people randomly banging the bongos, shaking of shakers, huffing into harmonicas and wailing on their whistles, but then somehow, the drummers found a beat to which the crowd responded; the banging, huffing, wailing, whistling and shaking started to take on an actual beat!!! The energetic leader of the In rhythm group pulled people from the crowd and invited them to have a turn on the row of spare bongos that had been set up. The energy and the rhythm of the noise gave everyone so much momentum and the noise could be heard streets away – on and on it went, for over ten minutes.

At the end of the noise I realized that I should not have stood so close to the great group of people with the whistles, as I was now slightly deaf with a high pitched ringing in my ears but it was definitely worth it to see so many people STAND UP and MAKE A NOISE for the Millennium Development Goals.

Oxfam Australian NSW Community Campaigner Debbie Hunt