We can do something: #MITAdonate #JusticeforRefugees

As some of you may have read in the past, my Mum, Margaret regularly travels from Ballarat to visit people seeking asylum at MITA, a detention centre in Broadmeadows.

Yesterday, my parents and I joined thousands of people around Australia who walked for Justice for Refugees. On their way home to Ballarat, Mum visited MITA and gave clothes and other items to 7 families. (I donated my Richmond scarf to a boy who is a keen supporter. He and his family have been in MITA for nearly a year.)

Mum has given me some further suggestions for donations for those who’d like to help those at MITA. Any assistance would be very much appreciated. Items can be either new or good quality second-hand.

Men, women and children

  • Jeans (straight or narrow legs only
  • T-shirts
  • Warm tops, jackets, night wear etc for winter
  • Hats, scarfs and glove
  • Shoes (no high heels)

Women and girls

  • Leggings
  • Headbands, hair clips, necklaces, bracelets

Children

  • Colouring, activity, and sticker books
  • Pencil cases, coloured pencils, textas

Other

  • Large pieces of material (about 2 metres) for making tops and dresses
  • Backpacks for children
  • Soft travel bags or sport bags for adults
  • Large handbags or bags to carry nappies etc.

If you are able to assist (and live in Melbourne or Ballarat), please get in contact with me.

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There are also a number of practical actions we can all take to both advocate for more humane refugee policy and to assist those refugees & asylum seekers in Australia.

* The wonderful Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has a list of ways you can get involved and also produce excellent fact sheets & mythbusters­ to assist you in discussing these issues.   *Amnesty International also has useful resources on refugee issues if you’d like to learn more.

* Write to your federal Member of Parliament: Oxfam have some tips on how to do this.

*Spread the word: host a screening or encourage friends, family and colleagues to watch Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea film. Doco is available to buy for $20 here: http://deepblueseafilm.com/­ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deepblueseafilm

*Volunteer: there are a range of organisations that work to support asylum seekers and refugees. For example, you could tutor refugees in homework programs.  See Refugee Council’s list of organisations in your community.


A new door opens …

This Thursday 21 March, I’m leaving Melbourne behind for 4 weeks.

My last time in the US was back in 2001, while I was studying on exchange at Osgoode Hall Law School. I spent a very memorable week in NYC in early October 2001, just three weeks after September 11.

On this trip, our first stop is Austin, Texas. I’m sure Willie Nelson live in concert  will be a highlight. Both my friend Tash and I, are not so sure about the special guest, Bevo.

From Austin to New York City, with plenty of time to wander from our base in Greenwich Village.

In addition to exploring New York and catching up with friends, I am participating in a panel at the Fordham IP Conference and hoping to share some of my experience from working on the landmark iiNet copyright litigation (known on Twitter as #iitrial).

From New York City to San Francisco and then a weekend out of the city to visit an old friend, Ruth Ann in Arnold, California.  A quick stop in LA rounds off the itinerary before heading home.

And a new door opens …

I will be back in Melbourne on 18 April and focusing on exploring new career opportunities.  (My LinkedIn profile provides a snapshot of my skills, interests and experiences.)

Any ideas, suggestions, contacts for my US trip and career are most welcome.  If only someone else could pack for me too …