Carly Findlay’s memoir, Say Hello

Hi there! Last month, I went to Carly Findlay’s book launch. The atmosphere was lovely and I came away with a copy of her book. I then spent the next few days devouring it.

A book rests on the edge of a tram window-ledge. It is facing up, the front cover reads in orange and black writing, "Say Hello Carly Findlay   How I became my own fangirl: a moir and manifesto on difference, acceptance, self-love and belief" Beside the words is a picture of Carly, who has a red face and dark curly hair. She is smiling and wearing an orange skirt, white top and pink tank top with colourful flower designs.

Carly is an award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist, writing about disability and appearance diversity issues. She is a proud disabled woman, living with a rare skin condition, ichthyosis. She is an awesome person and I’m glad I’ve met her.

Her memoir, Say Hello, details her life growing up with ichthyosis and how she has come to be proud of her disability and to own it. She speaks honestly of the ups and downs of living with her disability. The highs of family support, fandom, finding her community, loving herself and disability pride – and the lows of people’s ableism*, their pitying attitudes and intrusive questions.

N.B. Ableism = discrimination and/or prejudice against disabled people.

On her website, Carly writes about her book:

“….

There was no one in media or books who looked like me, or to tell me it’s ok to not want to change my appearance, and I didn’t know whether I’d find love – love with another or love for myself. I had to write that book. To be the person Little Carly needed. In Say Hello, I want to show parents who have a disabled child that there is no need to grieve a life lost – because their child is alive and can live a great life with love and support. I want to show readers how to be proud of their identity and their appearance, and love themselves even when the world has told them they have to hide. Representation matters. I hope this book is the start of more people with ichthyosis telling their own story – to shift the focus from the exploitative media we are seeing a lot of. Representation matters because shapes the way ichthyosis is seen, and lets people with ichthyosis see themselves. Disability literature must be disability-led.”

http://carlyfindlay.com.au/SayHello/

I related to parts of this book – being the odd-one-out sucks, and escapism through fandom, then finding my people, those who get me, have been saving graces. However, I should say too that my disability is invisible, so I have had more privilege than Carly. For example, I don’t get asked “what happened to my face?” regularly when I’m out and about, and people don’t flinch away from me or avoid touching me. Carly speaks candidly of these sorts of instances in Say Hello. She has faced plenty of discrimination and casual ableism. It sucks and, as Carly details in the book, is exhausting. People, stop it. PSA: check your attitudes and your privilege, drat it, in thinking about, seeing and interacting with disabled people. Stop making assumptions on behalf of us. We’re just going about our daily lives, ‘k? We’re not your bloody inspiration! Seriously, back off. 😡

Carly is unapologetic about her disability activism, politics and pride. From Carly and others like her, I am learning to be the same.

I encourage everyone to read Carly’s book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an angry memoir in parts (with good reason), as well as being laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming. Thanks for writing it Carly. I can’t wait to read what you write next!

Buy Say Hello from Booktopia (paperback) and Apple Books (ebook), as well as department stores and bookstores in Australia and New Zealand. Carly is also doing a book tour. Having already visited Melbourne and Sydney (and with the Brisbane event sold out), she’s going to Perth, Albury Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, Canberra and Adelaide as well. See her website (http://carlyfindlay.com.au/SayHello/) for details.

What now for Manus?

Urrrrgh.

I bloody hate this situation.

I’ve made phone-calls, including to Peter Dutton MP (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection). I’ve also sent an email to my local member, Bill Shorten MP (Opposition Leader) and Shayne Neumann MP (Shadow Minister for Immigration).

See that below. This sickens me…. and I feel so hopeless and helpless about it.

Check out the statement from Shadow Minister for Immigration here:  http://shayneneumann.com.au/news/immigration-and-border-protection/former-manus-island-regional-processing-centre/ A lot more mealy-mouthed than I’d hoped for. Luckily I saw it when looking up his contact details and could address the icky bits in my email (they’re the bits in red). In the email, when I speak of the “current situation” I’m referring to the situation today. The angle I took was influenced by a phone-chat I had with a staffer from Shayne Neumann’s office.

 

Dear Mr David Feeney MP, Mr Shayne Neumann MP and Mr Bill Shorten MP,

My name is Clare Keogh and I am a young university student living in [suburb], Victoria. I am deeply concerned about the situation on Manus Island that has been unfolding for several weeks and escalated today. I am also keeping the people detained on Nauru in my thoughts, as they should not be forgotten either.
I know that the current situation is not Labor’s doing and that the centres, when Labor restarted them, was intended to be used for regional processing rather than indefinite detention. 
 
However, the fact remains that the current situation is not the responsibility of PNG but of Australia. There have been reports of AFP involvement in today’s crisis on Nauru, after all. 
 
By what right are the men’s phones being seized? By what right are their few belongings being taken and destroyed? By what right have their only means of getting water and shelter been destroyed? By what right has their access to even the most basic medical aid and food been removed? Why has Behrouz Boochani been arrested?
 
I understand that, as you are in Opposition, it makes it harder to make concrete change. But you and your colleagues should speak up about the situation still. Perhaps you are advocating for them behind closed doors. Can you explain, concretely, how? 
 
I am particularly concerned by some of the information that has been presented in the statement produced by Mr Neumann an hour ago: 
 

The situation at the closed Manus Island RPC could have been avoided if Malcolm Turnbull was clear from the start about refugees’ access to essential services at the alternative accommodation in PNG.

Turnbull has a moral obligation to work with PNG to deescalate tensions and guarantee the ongoing safety and security of these people.

Labor accepts that the former Manus Island RPC has closed as the result of a decision of the Supreme Court of PNG.

The men at the closed centre need to relocate to alternative accommodation – such as East Lorengau – to access security, health and welfare services.

Footage and reports from advocates who have visited the East Lorengau site make clear that the “alternative accommodation” at East Lorengau is not ready. No water, toilets, or showers. No power. Inadequate shelter for the tropical conditions. No security and no safety. The locals do not want them there. After all, Manus Island is a tiny part of PNG, with scarce resources for the local population.
 
Has anyone from Labor attempted to go and see conditions for themselves? Where has this idea that the offered alternative accommodation is acceptable come from? Why is the onus on the men to move there, rather than the violence to stop? The men have been asking us to listen to them about this. Why are you ignoring their voices? 
 
 
Nauru is also a small place that is struggling to care for all of its people. Yet today I heard news of a new contract being given to Canstruct to build more facilities (described as “garrison-type”) for those held there. There are children and vulnerable women on Nauru. Can nothing be done for them? 
I thought Australia was better than this. It makes me sick at heart to think of this going on, when it would be so much cheaper and more humane to fulfil our international and moral obligations and either bring them here or resettle them in another country who are willing and able to take them – like New Zealand – while working with other countries in the region to create a viable long-term solution. 
 
The idea that these measures are in place to “save lives at sea” or “protecting Australian borders” is rubbish. There are far cheaper and better ways of preventing people risking lives on boats to Australia, like investing in real regional dialogue and processing, providing support and resources to countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, where the boats set out from. 
 
The current situation is a punitive measure created to encourage asylum seekers to think that going to Australia is worse than staying where they are. Now that has led to desperate people being treated like animals, denied even the most basic human rights. 
 
Please do something. This is a major sticking point for myself and many others in terms of voting. More than that, making a stand is the right thing to do. Have some political courage, listen to those who are experiencing the crisis, and act, please. The situation has gone on for far too long! 
 
If you reply, please don’t use an automated response but something real. 

Donate to RISE Foodbank

RISE are a group of “refugees, survivors and ex-detainees”, who help out refugees in need. 

Their Melbourne foodbank could use a little love (see attached pics). 

Also, I’m supporting their call for the Palm Sunday rallies (and other “supportive” spaces to have more direct involvement (e.g. Speakers) from refugees, especially ex-detainees. Not just advocates speaking on behalf of them. Solidarity means putting those affected first, by creating spaces for them to share their stories (for starters)… See this link for more info. 

Rest is in pictures because reblogging etc. from the Facebook mobile app isn’t the best. 

Why I Marched

So on the weekend I marched in Melbourne at one of the many “Solidarity” events happening across the world in support of those marching against Trump in the US.

There were at least 6,000 of us and possibly as much as 10,000.  Men, women (and presumably other genders), children and dogs walked from the State Library to Parliament, avoiding Bourke St. It was a good event, with several speakers. I made a few new friends along the way.

One of the speakers was Van Badham, a writer, columnist and feminist. I enjoyed her speech the best, because she made global events local and talked about intersectionality – the real sort. Like how we have to try and understand where people who vote differently are coming from. Times are changing rapidly and progress isn’t equal – so we need to be out and talking with people about concerns. Memorable quotes from her included, “If your feminism doesn’t involve being part of a union, then you’re doing it wrong”. While I’m wary sometimes of doing the whole “feminists are/not this or that”, I think Van Badham makes a good point. How can we change things if we’re not involved? How can we show that we share the same concerns if we’re not a part of those sorts of groups – if we’re not active? I’ll return to the union thing in a minute.

We need to come together. As Jennifer Wilson of No Place for Sheep shows here, there are plenty of things that need change within Australia as well as outside. The activist group March in March Australia (via Trish Corry) has another list of Australian disgraces:

march-in-march-1

I was thinking about these things today when my friend pointed me in the direction of a movie, released a couple of years ago, that she’d just viewed. Anyone remember Pride? It was released in 2014 – it was one of the few movies I watched that year (I’m not a big movie-watcher….). It’s a film about true events that occurred in 1984-85, in Britain. “It’s the summer of 1984 Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners.” Of course, when they try to donate the money there’s a bit of a culture clash at first. But the hand of friendship is extended between the group (Lesbians and Gays Supporting the Miners) and a small mining town, Onllwyn, in Wales. Despite hiccups, both ‘sides’ come to accept each other. It’s a brilliant story of allyship and intersectionality “done right”. The best part is that it is very close to the true story of what happened. Go watch it if you haven’t already. =)

It’s got a cracking script, paired with some great songs. Two in particular fit my mood today – the end song is “Power In A Union”, the version by Billy Bragg. The original song/manifesto is older than that. Unionism plays a big part in the film – please look Pride up and read the history behind it if you can’t watch the actual film. It’s so very relevant given the message of the Women’s March and of the film itself of being “stronger together”. Organise!

Hopefully in a non-violent fashion. I don’t want to sound preachy but I think the best way of doing things is to use words and constructive not destructive action. That doesn’t mean switching off, in the hope of “denying them oxygen”. As Jennifer Wilson said in a different article, speaking of another matter, “I disagree, not least because this is completely unrealistic: of course they will be given oxygen, and in view of that, to remain silent is to enable.” Well said! So let’s resolve to give up all forms of exclusion and in doing so, actively listen to each other, so we can better speak up for and support one another.

Another memorable quote from Badham spoke of us going away and talking, “in your schools, your offices, your mothers’ groups, your church groups” – I’m paraphrasing, because it’s been a few days so I can’t remember the exact words. But it’s still a good reminder that all of us have our own communities, plural, in which we can build change.
Or as Darth Timon put it, “So today, look to your pets. Look to your friends. Look to your significant other, your children, and your family. Look to all that is good, and kind, and unite in that spirit. Unite against the new occupant of the White House and his ilk. You are many, and you will make a difference.” (Emphasis mine.)

I’ll leave you with another song used in Pride that my friend pointed me towards again. I rediscovered my love of this song. I’ve used a clip from Pride because it is such a beautiful, powerful rendering of the song.

I give you, “Bread and Roses”. Song history here. It’s good. Quote from the song: “Hearts starve as well as bodies/ Give us bread, but give us roses”.

 

 

 

 

 

50 Years since Wave Hill Walk-Off

Yesterday (16/08/16) was the forty-first anniversary of then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam giving back land to the Gurindji people, pouring a handful of soil through Vincent Lingiari’s hand to symbolise that.

Next week, it’ll be the fiftieth anniversary of the event that started that: the Wave Hill Walk-Off.

For a brief overview, look here: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/03/02/vincent-lingiari-gough-whitlam-story-behind-image

From the article:

“It was the unfair treatment of his fellow workers, his people and their families, that led Vincent Lingiari and other employees (some 200 hundred people), to stage a ‘walk-off’ at Wave Hill Station located approximately 600 kilometre’s south of Darwin, in the Northern Territory.

Wave Hill station was a cattle station run by Vesteys, a British pastoral company, which employed the local Aboriginal people from the area. Vincent Lingiari had noticed for quite some time that the working and living conditions for Aboriginal people were very bad, they were treated differently and were not paid equally compared to the non-Aboriginal employees.  Even Lingiari, who was a head stockman, initially received no cash payment. The first time he had received money was around 1953 when he lined up with the other stockmen at the Negri River races and was given £5 ‘pocket-money’.

Vincent Lingiari, who was the Gurindji spokesman, and his fellow 200-strong protesters – stockmen, house servants, and their families, walked along a fence line to Gordy Creek before setting up camp on the Victoria River near the Wave Hill Welfare Station. They camped on higher ground during the wet season and in early 1967 moved to Wattie Creek, where they established the community of Daguragu.

The protesters petitioned the Governor General in 1967 and the leaders toured Australia to raise awareness about their cause.

In 1973, Prime Minister Whitlam announced that funds would be made available for the purchase of properties that were not on reserves, and Lord Vestey, from Vesteys pastoral company, surrendered the land in question to the Gurindji people.”

The story was immortalised in song by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody in “From Little Things, Big Things Grow”. That’s where I first heard the story, actually. I distinctly remember that the song was part of a research project in Year Eight which I credit as the start of my “awakening” so to speak around First Nations’ issues.

I couldn’t resist sharing the song. I found this clip on YouTube – hope it works.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_ndC07C2qw&w=420&h=315%5D

 

 

I #StandforSanctuary

Across Australia this evening in over forty towns and cities there are gatherings in support of asylum seekers threatened with deportation. Below is some text I’ve copied from GetUp’s page about the event, since I couldn’t screenshot it. This includes a list of the towns and cities participating. There are more cities involved in the actions than listed, too, so have a squiz around your town tonight!

Also, check out the list, right at the bottom, of organisations supporting these actions. We will not stand down!

The 267 banner

Stand for Sanctuary

This is an emergency.

A High Court ruling on Wednesday means 267 people – 37 of whom are babies, including those in the photo above – could be sent to the abusive detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru within days.1

Together, we must stand in the government’s way.

We can’t waste any time. The government is ready to put these vulnerable men, women and kids on planes to hell – and only a huge public mobilisation is going to stop that happening.

In an incredible show of compassion and solidarity, churches around the country have opened their doors to offer sanctuary to the 267 people Malcolm Turnbull wants to deport. We stand with them.

On the evening of Monday 8 February, thousands of people will rally in capital cities and towns around the country to stand for sanctuary, and demonstrate that together, we will do everything we can to keep these babies, children, men and women safe. We will demand that the government let them stay.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD POSTERS TO PRINT AT HOME

On this page, you’ll find all the events we know are being organised. Some are being organised by GetUp! and our partners, others are grassroots mobilisations. If you can’t find your local town or community on this page, and would like to hold Stand for Sanctuary event, just shoot us an email at standforsanctuary@getup.org.au and we’ll put it up on the page!

MAKE SURE YOU’VE SIGNED THE PETITION

Community organised events

ALICE SPRINGS
Where: John Flynn Uniting Church Lawns, Todd Mall, Northern Territory
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

APOLLO BAY
Where: Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Organised by: Apollo Bay Rural Australians for Refugees

ARARAT
Where: Ararat Performing Arts Centre, Cnr Barkly and Vincent Street, Ararat, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rurual Australians for Refugees, Grampians/Gariwerd

ARMIDALE
Where: Central Park, Armidale, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Organised by: Armidale Rural Australians for Refugees
RSVP here

BALNARRING
Where: St Mark’s Church, Balnarring, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
RSVP here

BEECHWORTH
Where: Beechworth Post Office, Corner Camp St and Ford St Beechworth, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

BEGA
Where: Littleton Gardens, Bega, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5pm
Organised by: Bega Rural Australians for Refugees
RSVP here

BENDIGO
Where: Rosalind Park, Bendigo, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees, Bendigo
RSVP here

BIRREGURRA
Where: Birregurra Drapery Courtyard, 69A Main St, Birregurra Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Birregurra Traders Association
RSVP here

BLUE MOUNTAINS
Where: Leura Uniting Church, Leura, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Organised by: Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group

BOAT HARBOUR BEACH
Where: Meet in front of the boat sheds, Boat Harbour Beach, Tasmania
When: Monday 8 February, 6:15pm

BUNBURY
Where: Anzac Park, between Library and Senior Citizens building, Bunbury, Western Australia
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

CASTLEMAINE
Where: Victory Park, Castlemaine, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees, Castlemaine

CENTRAL COAST
Where: Gosford Waterfront (near Gosford Swimming pool)
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Central Coast for Social Justice

DUNKELD
Where: Dunkeld Town Park, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Dunkeld Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Group
RSVP here

EMERALD
Where: Emerald Community House Hall, 356-358 Belgrave- Gembrook Road, Emerald, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Emerald Community House
RSVP here

GEELONG
Where: Crn La Trobe Tce and Ryrie St
When: Monday 8 February, 4pm
Organised by: Combined Refugee Action Group

GERALDTON
Where: The Law Courts
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm

GLEN INNES
Where: Dunkeld Town Park, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Refugees Welcome Glen Innes Support Group

HORSHAM
Where: Horsham Botanical Gardens, Horsham, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

LITHGOW
Where: Cook Street plaza, Main street, Lithgow, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 5pm
Organised by: Lithgow Asylum seeker and refugee support group

MAGNETIC ISLAND
Where: Alma Bay, Magnetic Island, Queensland
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

MANSFIELD
Where: Meet at the horse trough in the Medium strip near the roundabout outside Mansfield Hotel
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Mansfield Rural Australians for Refugees
Wear White

MOUNT GAMBIER
Where: Cave Gardens
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
RSVP here
MYRTLEFORD
Where: Myrtleford Piazza, Clyde St, Myrtleford, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7:30pm
Organised by: Myrtleford Refugee Support Group

NEWCASTLE
Where: Wesley Uniting Church, 150 Beaumont Street, Hamilton, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy
RSVP here

NOOSA HEADS
Where: Lions Park, cnr Noosa Parade and Noosa Drive, Queensland
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
RSVP here

NORTHAM
Where: Northam Uniting Church, Duke St, Northam, Western Australia
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Northam Welcomes Asylum Seekers

QUEENSCLIFF
Where: Queenscliff Uniting Church, Corner of Hesse and Stokes Street, Queenscliff, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 7pm
Organised by: Queenscliff Uniting Church
RSVP here

RYE
Where: Rye Community Playground, Point Nepean Rd, Rye Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

PHILLIP ISLAND
Where: St Philip’s Anglican church, Thompson Ave, Cowes, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees – Phillip Island

PICTON
Where: Town Square, Argyle St, Picton, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Picton Uniting Church

SEMAPHORE
Where: Semaphore foreshore, by the angel war memorial, Semaphore, South Australia
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

SHOALHAVEN
Where: 59 Junction Street, Nowra (outside Federal MP Anne Sudmalis’ office), NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

SOUTH GIPPSLAND
Where: Wonthaggi under the mine whistle in Murray St, South Gippsland Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: South Gippsland Rural Australians for Refugees

STAWELL
Where: Big Hill, Stawell, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

TALLAROOK
Where: Picnic at CWA Park, cnr Railway Pde and Main Road, Tallarook, Victoria
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here

TAREE/MANNING
Where: Fotheringham Park, near the clock, Victoria St, Taree, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
Organised by: Rural Australians for Refugees, Manning

TENTERFIELD
Where: Bruxner Park, Rouse Street, Tenterfield, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm

ULVERSTONE
Where: Otto’s Grotto, Fairway Park, Ulverstone, Tasmania
When: Monday 8 February, 5:30pm
Bring stuff for a BBQ

WOLLONGONG
Where: North beach, Wollongong, NSW
When: Monday 8 February, 6pm
RSVP here
OR
Where: Serbian Orthodox, 82 Kenny st, Wollongong Where: Monday 8th February 6pm
Organised by: Serbian Ladies Auxiliary

Keep checking back – we’ll be listing all the community organised events we hear about here.

Organising your own event (or thinking about it)? Awesome! Click here to let us know!


References
[1] ‘Asylum seeker families face deportation to Nauru after High Court ruling’, SBS news, 3 February 2016

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