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Inaugural Friendship Dinner for African and Jewish leaders

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Inaugural Friendship Dinner group photo
On the 10th of June 2021, 80 people gathered for the inaugural African Jewish Friendship Dinner at Canterbury League Club in Belmore NSW. Co-hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the African Australian Advocacy Centre (AAAC).

Attendees spent the night sharing a meal, building friendships, discussing common interests, and highlighting areas for the two communities to work together on. The AAAC founder and chairperson Noël Yandamutso Zihabamwe addressed the attendees in a speech about the shared experiences of African Australian and Jewish Australian peoples and the benefits of fostering a connection between the two communities.

The dinner event was especially successful with many attendees showing their sincere willingness to develop mutually beneficial relationships with shared goals of unity and equality. Many participants enjoyed coming together for the night shared with peers, regardless of their background, colour, or race.

African communities and Jewish communities in Australia have shared experiences of racism and prejudice. This reinforces the importance of making connections between the two communities to overcome societal barriers caused by negative stigma.

AAAC was founded to provide African-Australian communities with a voice in the political and social spheres. Many African-Australian communities have not had equal access to politicians, academics, business, and social researchers.

With the support of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the AAAC joined a coalition to support the “Keep NSW Safe “which is a coalition of over 40 religious and cultural groups and high -profile individuals who successfully lobbied the NSW government to make incitement to violence a crime.

The coalition was formed in August 2016 with the objective of reforming Section 20d of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act and making incitement to violence on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexuality and a number of other categories a crime.

Another important achievement was the African-Australian community leaders joining and graduating the “We Are All Sydney” leadership program facilitated by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

AAAC’s focus is consultation and collaboration with African migrant and refugee community groups, community leaders, and stakeholders in accordance with the principals of best practice. To work on fostering collaborative relationships that allow AAAC to better understand the needs of their members.
The objective of AAAC is to undertake consultation, research, and advocacy for the African-Australian community and provide advice for government and non-government organisations connected with managing multicultural policies and issues.

AAAC’s research goal involves exploring the best method for supporting African migrant and refugee communities in their transition from specialist services to mainstream services. AAAC undertake more focused research to better understand other issues that migrants and refugees face through provision of services during settlement and in the period of post-settlement.

The AAAC believe they will be successful in their mission when African Australian peoples enjoy equal opportunities as other Australians, engaging positively in all aspects of Australian life and culture and African Australians should be considered first-class Australian citizens in many respects.

AAAC wants a peaceful and fully socially integrated African-Australian community for people of African descent to be represented in positions of leadership and management in Australian society, providing inspirational role models for their peers.

AAAC believe that African youth should see education as a crucial pathway to their growth and development and a means of contributing their skills into Australian society, and African Australians to be perceived as people who make an authentic, genuine contribution to the Australian cultural, economic, and social landscape.

At the dinner, the attendees hoped to continue the community gathering event as a regular occurrence despite the challenges that the covid-19 pandemic has posed. The event has provided an opportunity for the African communities and Jewish communities in Australia to aid each other in meeting their mutual goals and add to the cultural fabric that makes Australia a great multicultural country.

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