The Moment I Realised I’m A Racist

By Phil Prior

The depth of empathy we as human beings feel is truly unique.

Having the capacity to feel what we feel. Laugh how we laugh. Cry how we cry. Love how we love. Hurt how we hurt.

People of all peoples, races of all walks can relate to this.

It is not hard to see that Adam Goodes is hurting. It’s not hard to see that Lewis Jetta is hurting.

Anyone that saw the events at Subiaco Oval on Sunday can agree on that.

Two years ago, it was another AFL footballer that opened my mind to the hurt that victims of racism feel. Heritier Lumumba, or Harry O’Brien as he was then known, went on AFL 360 to address the issue of casual racism.

The raw emotion with which he expressed how deeply our lack of understanding affects him really struck a chord with me. It changed my whole perspective. It changed my life. 

It was the moment when I understood that we non-Indigenous Australians simply cannot understand racism on the same level as victims.

But what we can understand is that they are still hurting. There is all too commonly a racial undertone when the “I’m not a racist, but…” people pipe up. When the Goodes booers ‘boo’.

While people continue to argue on why they can and can’t ‘boo’ Adam Goodes, we all continue to witness the undeniable hurt he feels. He’s a human being, after all.

But where the community is divided is by how we define racism. It’s a grey area.

The next step for the Adam Goodes booers of the world is learning to accept that their views on what is racist differ from the views of Indigenous Australians.

And I’m taking their word for it. What is and isn’t racist remains murky, but their hurt is clearer than day.

Life at the “Sharp End Of Survival” – Ted Smith

A month ago I received a message from Ted Smith, an old uni friend of mine on the Facebook. We’d become great mates living on campus in Canberra over the years, but had not been in touch for quite some time.

Teddy sent me a link to a Kickstarter campaign. He was over filming a documentary in his mother’s homeland, the Philippines. The film (which was already underway) was exploring the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the people of the community: physically, emotionally and psychologically, and what it meant to “Survive.”

bp1

I remember the typhoon happening. The vision and photos on Facebook were devastating. 10,000 killed – with homes and lives in complete tatters. If you’re anything like me though, these types of global disasters often slip away and become nothing more than memories. You read about them so you have enough info in case your quizzed at dinner, then you keep scrolling down the Newsfeed looking for the next important bulletin or happy distraction.

Typhoon-Haiyan

Then there are people like Teddy who empower themselves to become part of the story. They don’t feel disconnected at all. They know they have the power to do something and they do. They set off down the path of uncertainty and challenge with a selfless willingness to take on a role in rebuilding the community.

If you have a few minutes listen to the man himself speak about the project, click on the video below. Each inch of support will go a long way.

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His kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday 25th September, 7.11pm AEST.
If you have a small contribution you would be willing to make will be used as best possible.

Read the Full Story Below:

by Ted Smith

Hello fans of earth. My name is Ted Smith; I’m in the process of filming an independent documentary here in Tacloban, Philippines. I came here to discover what life is now like post Typhoon Yolanda. “Have your goals changed”, “what day to day challenges are you encountering”, “how long will it take to gain what you’ve lost, if that is even a possibility”, etc…

Since I’ve started my interviews I’ve discovered that the problems run a lot deeper than just clearing rubble and rebuilding. Unfathomable grief for what was lost is mingled with fear about a future mired in the devastating consequences of a changing climate. Underlying these themes seems to be a general feeling of abandonment – so many months after the disaster there is still debris lining the streets, people living in tents or shacks built from scrap metal. Many people that I’ve met feel that they have been forgotten by their government and the rest of the world. Questions about the effectiveness of the distribution of aid are rife – this is a delicate issue as I’ve been warned by both aid workers and local professionals about asking these “awkward” questions about the use, (or misuse) of international aid funding. It is alleged that many journalists have “got lost on the way home” in this country. I intend to make it back to Aus to share not only the inspirational stories of the survivors of Tacloban, but to also to cast some light onto the discrepancy between the amount of international aid money being donated and the actual aid received by the survivors. Of course, this question mark over the distribution of aid in no way diminishes or undermines the awe-inspiring agencies which do such incredible work over here, which will be another focal point of my film.

That is a brief insight into what I’m trying to do over here. If you want to take a closer look, or even get involved in the project feel free to head to my Kickstarter page (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1549760622/tacloban-today-life-at-the-sharp-end-of-survival). If you’d like to help out the people of Tacloban, the aid agencies that are doing the hardest work are listed below.

UNICEF http://www.unicef.org/philippines/supportunicef.html
Red Cross http://www.redcross.org.ph/press/news/item/540-red-cross-starts-construction-of-schools-in-tacloban

RISKS & CHALLENGES

The progress of my film is reliant on my ability to travel between Surigao and Tacloban. However of course, extreme weather conditions frequently provide an obstacle. So although the timeframe for filming is relatively short, I have decided to make my window home flexible.

Because the people of Tacloban are so desperate, robbery is a common event. I try to be as safety-conscious as possible – I always travel with a local, I keep my possessions hidden and I padlock my camera bag.

My line of questioning is prone to negative attention from political and authority figures. To protect myself I have decided to hold off from releasing my film until I’m safely backed in Australia. To protect the people giving sensitive information about the issue of unworthy aid filtering I will use my discretion and if the information gathered is deemed dangerous to the person partaking in my film I will withhold the parts of the interview that may be potentially hazardous and use other outlets to convey the information they have given me. I.E Related newspaper articles, relevant YouTube clips, and I myself can relay the information as opposed to putting my speaker at risk.

Dear Daily Telegraph and SMH re #MarchOz #marchinMay

"THE FERALS ARE REVOLTING" - Letter to the Daily Telegraph

Join the Love Your Mother Facebook Team to join this conversation!

To the Daily Telegraph & Sydney Morning Herald,

I am writing on behalf of hundreds of people who have expressed confusion and disappointment over your coverage of the March In May in your respective Monday papers. I’ve addressed the letter to both papers as Google informs us that you are friends.

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Firstly to the Telegraph, your consistent disregard for concepts of respect and truth empower us. “THE FERALS ARE REVOLTING” by Matthew Benns.  – Are you havin’ a laugh?
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This headline brought back memories of Telegraph journo Tim Blair’s article on the first marches (in march) which sliced and diced the event like one would a tomato for bruschetta. Matthew Benns story on Sunday’s event was similarly cynical towards the the March Australia community.
Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 7.04.16 PMYour imagery on the front cover, Page “04” and page “05” chose to focus on the 13 rascals who were arrested when a “small group protesters broke away from the march near Central Station.” Among the three colour pages you set aside to March Australia, the Telegraph editors found no place to honour and acknowledge the 14,987 people who walked peacefully (apart from an image the size of a $1 scratchy in the bottom third).

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I’m not sure whom I feel more empathy towards? The young men and woman you chose to dehumanise on your front cover or journalist Matthew Benns and the employees at the Daily Telegraph. I couldn’t imagine the pain of having to wrench myself out of bed everyday to go and work in an environment that thrives on cynicism and has vested interests in scooting from the truth.
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To the Sydney Morning Herald – on Monday your newspaper disappointed the Australian community for a third time. It was encouraging to read that you had sent two journalists down to 2nd round of March Australia events after you’d chosen not to print a word on the first march. Once again though, your pages did not honour those who marched with a simple mantra: “We want a better government.”

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Months ago you were sent Letter #2 which said I believed the march was “in fact a beautiful initiative to support a government,” as we are peacefully highlighting the changes we want –  giving our democracy a voice. Exercising our “Supreme Power.”
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From what I’ve come to learn – March Australia is a movement that ALL Australians can feel part of. 15,000 people in Sydney decided to give up their Sunday to tell the government why they are not happy and they did so in peace. You can understand our dismay when our “grab-bag” of issues were once again undermined by the Sydney Morning Herald:

“There wasn’t much but anti-Abbott sentiment to unite those gathered at Sydney’s Belmore Park waving signs in support of everything from ABC funding and asylum seekers to artists and sharks.” Sydney Morning Herald,  why didn’t you encourage your young writers to dig a little deeper?

Political reporter Jacqueline Maley acknowledged the use of ‘sense and civilility’ in a letter we sent through to the Sydney Morning Herald on March 18th. Your team knew we were supporters of the March Australia community and we expressed clear disappointment in not having our side of the story heard. On Monday your paper did it’s best to sidestep our voice for a third time. Why? We could have put you in touch with any number of intelligent and civil people. Instead you gave the biggest feature of your article to a chance passer-by named Edna Dashwood who was out on an “afternoon stroll” with her two children. You quoted Edna as saying:

“We’ll march if they start talking about anything we feel passionate about. I am more concerned with changes that affect workers rather than those to do with welfare” said Ms Dashwood.

Dear Edna… If only she knew. Your two young reporters could have filled her in right then and there. As the SMH article said later, Australian’s marched to call for protection of Arts funding, the ABC, Sharks and greater care of  Asylum Seekers. Imagine if Edna had known that thousands marched for Tasmanian forests, the Great Barrier Reef, protection of our drinking water from Coal Seam Gas mining and for equal marriage rights for the LGBT community. Imagine if Edna’s children had understood that a sea of faces were there to call upon the government to relieve us of our greatest national shame of having not yet recognised the true history of this land,  and to give us the chance to amend the fact that; no matter what Andrew Bolt says –  Australia is one of the only remaining countries in the world NOT to recognise it’s first peoples in its’ Constitution.

The difference between the March in March and Sundays 2nd installment was that 14,987 people came with a lot more clarity and intelligence. People left their Phallus placards at home and “F*** Tony Abbott” shirts in the wardrobe. We mustered fresh new friends and family across Sydney, Adelaide and Perth who found confidence to march after the Abbott government broke its’ pinky-promises in last weeks budget.
We see powerful hope in this idea. We’ve proved it: Australian’s are willing to put all differences aside and unite under the banner of TRUTH. Thankfully the power to discover credible and unbiased news (truth) is now firmly in the palms of our hands and the mainstream media’s future is at the mercy of our fingertips.  We no longer depend on media outlets to get to the heart of what’s really going on – we are living in a new age where digital people power is uniting and setting us free. The proof is in the pudding 🙂

To the Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald – it’s simple – we want more compassion from the government and we want our future back. All Australians want to have confidence that the ‘future Australia’ we are promised and vote for is the landscape we experience.

We look forward to joining you on the streets in August.

– Love Your Mother

If you would like to read our letters re March In March coverage head here:

Letter #1 to Sydney Morning Herald
Letter #2 to Sydney Morning Herald responding to Jacqueline Maley’s article.
Media Watch Coverage of Letter: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3970592.htm

PS: Below is a series of testimonials from an independent March Australia instagram account – For full comments head to @marchaustralia or view them here:
1. http://instagram.com/p/oJ_nLiMk5t
2. http://instagram.com/p/oK1aZHsk_Z

projectofevolution The Ferals???….. I was at the march yesterday & saw nothing but passionate Australians uniting for each other & the future. There was laughter, jokes, chatting & chants amongst the marchers but the scene printed on that page is not even representative of what the vibe was like. Once again an inaccurate portrayal by the media desperate to portray the battlers as antisocial… So far from the truth.

bradmullins_hairI was there yesterday with friends . I was proud to be part of a such a peaceful march . It was a great cross section of young , old , creative , intelligent , passionate people . If the people there were considered ferals than I’m happy to be one. @marchaustralia

lautrichienne
I took part at #marchaustralia in Melbourne on Sunday, and did not notice any disturbance or violence. The entire rally and march was so extremely well behaved, ironically I was rather worried that the march would be ridiculed as a Sunday stroll of middle class families not leaving a lasting impression (meaning that the anger and frustration over the cuts would not be communicated as powerful as it should) on media and onlookers. Although later the Federation Square was immensely crowded and speeches were emotionalising, people maintained a very civilised attitude. The interesting thing about the@dailytelegraph‘s attempts at manipulation is that 20 years ago it could have worked. Yesterday there were just too many people taking pictures and filming the whole entirely peaceful rally.

lewis_macmasterI found March in March an Inspirational event

freedomcyclistThe people, the spirit, the purpose that was us, the mass, yesterday … well done to all you amazing organisers yesterday xx

zeldateaIt was an amazing experience,power to the people!

dougie_schofieldThe people I encountered were all incredibly nice, good hearted, well behaved people. I found the spirit and energy of the speeches to one of frustration and passion (understandably), and the march was happy, respectful and peaceful. As for the purpose, due to our current government, we have purpose to march every single day.

samma_j Sydney march there were people of all ages, I was especially surprised at the amount of older Australians but so proud to see them participating and sticking up for their rights! It was a peaceful environment full of passion! I took plenty of videos, particularly to show the positive nature, heaps of families, people having picnics, instruments, music and dancing because I knew the tele would find a way to spin it. Yesterday really showed the diverse range of citizens upset at the government. Best bit was all the cars driving past beeping and tapping their roof in support and recording it on their phones.

staceylove444I was at the Sydney march yesterday (and the one in March) and was filled with gratitude, I even shed a tear or two… People from all walks of life coming together to stand up for what’s right. I had my 8 month old baby with me and we saw nothing but love, compassion & kindness. Couldn’t have been prouder to be a part of something so important.

johnnoboy65It was a wonderful human affair – all walks of life represented. Shame on any media that presented it as otherwise.

Blog #2 – 7 Reasons I Have to Thank The March In March

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Photo Credit: Hannah Leser

Join the Love Your Mother Facebook Team to join this conversation!

On March 16th, 2014 – 100,000 people took part in an event across Australia called the March In March. It was a grass roots event in 32 locations. The event since then has renamed itself – “March Australia.” This weekend, May 18 a smaller round of marches are taking place in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth before the whole of Australia assembles again in August.

It’s too early to tell what sort of political impact the March Australia movement will have, where it’s headed or what it will look like after August. It’s an interesting time ahead.

I won’t be marching this weekend as I’m away but I wanted to share #7 personal reasons I’m thankful I attended March in March.

-Tim

#1 – I woke up

For my 27 years of life I would say I have been relatively apathetic and disinterested in parliamentary chit chat at dinner tables. When Tony Abbott’s government came to power I suddenly saw a power that was disrespecting values that I held close to my heart. The March In March was the first time as an adult I felt 100% compelled to skip the Marrickville markets on a Sunday to raise my voice.

I felt propelled to want to know more about the system and strive for truth. It made me explore basic basic ideas again, such as what was the definition of a government?

#2 –  I had faith to walk blindly
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The March In March was an entirely new movement. There was uncertainty for all involved. Would anyone even show up?

The moment I decided I was going to back the event 100% was when I stumbled upon the mission statement:

“March In March is a peaceful non-partisan event to voice no confidence in certain policies of the government that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness, social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage.“

I took a step into the dark with 100,000 others and was rewarded. I left feeling hopeful and empowered. From a simple idea a new movement had been created – and if it was nurtured it would be one that every Australian could happily join 1000 years into the future.

#3 –  To Power Of Cynicism

“Our greatest enemy is not Tony Abbott, it’s our own cynicism”Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 7.04.16 PM

How often do you hear it….  “We are powerless –  we can’t change those in power” “What’s the point?” “There’s no hope.” Shh..No more. Please. Or atleast when I’m out of the room.

The great English songwriter Billy Bragg spoke perfect words as it rained down before we marched. He said our greatest enemies are not Tony Abbott or Gina Rinehart – it’s our own cynicism – our own attitudes that we can’t create the change or change the people in power.

I had often thought about the cynicism that festers around our suburbs, our cities and our towns. March In March was the first time I wholly believed it can be overcome. I have full faith that as a nation we can shed our generally apathetic Australian skin and start believing in what we can accomplish together.

Since March In March there have been some REAL examples of human spirit prevailing.

1. Digital People People & The Road To Freedom - The story of this blog and people holding a major media accountable!
2. Thousands Protect Bentley From Mining Near Byron Bay - Only days ago a mining company had their license suspended after the efforts of a community to support eachother and have faith!

Photo Credit: David Lowe
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#4 Humans are compassionate

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The March In March gave me time and space to reflect on humans as 20,000 Sydney-siders walked up broadway towards Newtown. I looked up to the monstrous buildings and passing cars. Humans are so darn clever. We’ve conquered the world. We fly planes, have been to space and just the other day created internet…


“George!? What do you mean you will send me an email from London via invisible energy that will arrive in the next minute!?”
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Amid all of this mind blowing world conquering creation,  we have left the essence of a few things behind. We’ve forgotten to love, look and listen to each other. How can you take into account the needs of others if you are constantly racing to try and get to the top of the stairs first.

The March In March saw 100,000 people putting aside individual ambition for a day – to raise concern for other human beings. For thousands It was an act of peace and love. It was a call for compassion. Compassion to mother earth and all people of the world.

#5 – The Power Of Intelligence

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The March In March make me reconcile with an idea: I know nothing.
My knowledge in politics beyond stories, faces and Year 10 humanities classes is limited. I realised that If I want to convince my family, friends or the Prime Minister that  policy change is necessary in certain areas I need to be able to express why.

*When issues of equal rights, environmental protection and safety of asylum seekers is concerned – it may take you as little a 2 minutes to build a compelling case.

#6 Peace is the Pathway

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It can be hard in this big old world not to react with emotion when you don’t agree with a sentiment you hear or read.  Always be civil. Don’t let your ego get in the way of an intelligent response. Strive to be civil with your words, your actions, always have peace as your goal. The media painted the march as an “Abbott hate march” that was defacing our the Prime Minister. This was only 1 side of the story.

While the funny signs and idea of “hate” played a big role in bringing people together – looking ahead March In March need to channel the words of the greats – their path has to be intelligent with a focus on peace. A March Australia culture built on hate isn’t sustainable, nor is any culture built on hate.
(Apart from Fight Club)

I remember best the music, costumes, colour and smiles at March In March.

#7 The Digital Road To Freedom

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Read the story of this blog and how it was created out of the March In March. 
Digital People Power & The Road To Freedom

While the March in March was by no means the first of it’s kind – it blossomed from the ideas of some average joes who saw the power of Facebook to create a movement of like minded people. It grew and it grew. Like by like. 1 by 1 – little step by little step…

Once upon a time – folk would roll down to a march then would head home. Interaction with a mass audience and other activists would end at the end of the event. The new power we possess is that we are able to connect with each other long before and forever after after the event. I can easily find someone in Ethiopia and share truth.

While digital communication may not be “Real” – it can connect us. It has infinite possibility – whereas if I leave my house, my voice will only reach a certain way down the street if I call out. There needs to be a perfect combination of real human interaction, but honouring the very real fact that billions spend more time on their computers than they do outside or talking to people.
If you are reluctant to explore the digital world – I understand, but know that it doesn’t have to consume all your life – it can simply be a small part that brings about incredible change for your community through “clicktivism.”

Other March Australia Reflections

 I hope moving forwards the organisers of  March Australia have the confidence to challenge the Australian community to unite on principles of peace and intelligence.

From an outsiders point of view I have been watching the activities of the organisers online every day. It is very early days but one thing is clear:
there is a lack of cohesion and vision among the 32 different Facebook pages. The national page (with 54,700 FB Likes) has focused heavily on demonising Prime Minister Abbott as opposed to celebrating the beauty that was The March In March.

I have spoken with former organisers via FB and email who have since left the March Australia organising team with plans to create their own movements. This worries me as to how it will fracture the momentum, but I have complete faith in March Australia. To the organisers if you are listening, your path to freedom is clear: 1. Peace 2. Intelligence.
Since the 2014 budget announcement more and more people are realising they are not happy with the Abbott government.

If you head over and observe the strategy of the March Australia social media pages it’s disconcerting. Since the march events took place the Admins of the page have employed a strategy that continues to drive hate towards the government – where they could be uniting people with the following:

1. The beauty and colour seen in the images of march in march

2. Peaceful reminders of great minds such as Gandhi and Luther King.

3. Calling upon people to voice their opinions as opposed to telling people what to think.

Get in touch with organisers – let them know what you want. This is a national movement for the people.

 

Blog #1 – Digital Platforms.. A Gateway to Social Change

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 12.32.00 PMImage Created by Timothy Pembroke

Digital Platforms: A Gateway To Social Change…

G’day there!  On Tuesday March 18, 2014 –  an intertwined network of social media users hailing from Sydney, Byron Bay, Canberra and beyond supported a letter I wrote to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

This blog platform was created to post the letter so others could read thoughts on how SMH overlooked printing a story on a grassroots nationwide event – The March In March.  In a matter of hours the letter became a viral piece of content that spread to different parts of the world. 5 days later the letter had been viewed 100,000 times. Keep in mind this was not a gangam style video clip or Charlie bit my finger from Youtube. This was a letter to a newspaper. In my mind, such letters get scrumpled into mini basketballs and aimed at the nearest recycling bin.

The Letter: https://timothypembroke.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/dear-sydney-morning-herald-re-march-in-march/

Sydney Morning Herald response by Jacqueline Maley
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/march-in-march-two-sides-to-the-story-we-didnt-run-20140321-357tg.html

Media Watch – Coverage of Letter #1: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3970592.htm

We got lucky. The paper neglected to report on an event it later said it should have. Encouraged by a friend, I stayed up late one night to write, pounced on an opportunity and got the timing just right…. But it’s important to acknowledge that the success of the campaign wasn’t all based on good timing. From the moment the Editors signed off and the paper went to print without reporting on a significant event, the success came from the work of people using content and social media.  It was an example of Digital Platforms creating Social conversation, a growing phenomenom.
Through clicktivism, online banter and dinner table conversations the letter was given a voice. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram played a big role – but it was the decision of people to use platforms for a cause that blossomed the outcome. It was social media being used for a social cause – not to build a personal brand.

Having posted the letter on a Monday, By Friday afternoon – respected journalist Jacqueline Maley responded on the SMH website. This story was printed in Saturday’s newspaper.  On Monday night ABC television show Media Watch featured the letter and recognised the 90,000 people who had participated in the campaign. For two weeks I was in constant communication with people in a digital sense. Hundreds of folk across Australia were engaged with what had happened – feeling connected to the idea that we had unlocked a small door to claim a community victory.

KEY MOMENTS

The limitless potential of social networking is almost too hard to fathom. We’ve been thrown a lifeline by the digi-gods.2.4 Billion people currently have access to the internet and are intertwined in some way. It’s good fun to imagine what the likes of Gandhi and the rest would be thinking if they were around today with tools to communicate with billions with a simple… click.

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A Global Piece of Content. 103,500 views across 141 countries.
Picture Gandhi being shown the graphics below in the 1940s, knowing full well he had all modern day digital tools and platforms at his disposal – for free. There is no doubt these tools would have played a major role in his communications strategy in addition to his bookspublic speeches and so on.

Analytics of the Sydney Morning Herald Letter
Platform: WordPress

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This following story is a visual re-telling of how the letter went viral over a couple of days through clicks and conversations reaching these 141 countries.

If you have a spare 15 minutes – read on. Featuring a guest tweet from Russel Brand and an appearance on Media Watch. 

"Once upon a time there was an event in Australia called the March In March. It occurred nationwide on Sunday, March 16.  20,000 people marched in Sydney, and another 80,000 across Australia that day to voice their dissatisfaction with the Tony Abbott government over certain policies..."

Friday March 14
Call To Arms – Value in the mission of March In March
Platform: Facebook

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Sunday March 16
BACKYARD CRAFTS, MUSIC + A FISH & A MERMAID FROM THE GB REEF
Platform: Instagram

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Monday, March 17
THE SEED
Platform: iPhone & iMessage

A trusted newspaper – the Sydney Morning Herald – did not print a word or image about the March In March. A text among friends is all it took. Instant communication, the power of ideas the beauty of teamwork and people firing eachother up!

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Tuesday, March 18
THE LETTER, THE BLOG  &  FACEBOOK

Platform: WordPress Blog, Facebook

On Monday night we finished the letter to SMH. This blog was created. The letter came from the heart and resonated with the people we showed. I posted it on Facebook to share with my friends hoping those that attended might read and support it…
Read Letter #1 HERE.Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 3.15.13 PM*38 Shares, 99 Likes, 20 Comments


Tuesday, March 18
Twitter Account Activated
Platform: Twitter

I’d never created a Twitter account. I knew it would open up avenues of digital conversation. The Tweets below got the ball rolling. Scott Ludlum Favourited this tweet 🙂
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Wednesday, March 19
Read by 25,000 PEOPLE in 24 HOURS. 
Platform: Facebook, Twitter

In the space of 24 hours my Facebook network pushed the letter out to their Facebook networks. I was sitting at the Leichardt library the on Wednesday morning when my old uni pal Mick gave me a buzz to see how I was travelling. He said “Mate it’s been shared 4,000 times on Facebook!”

At this point I realised the letter was a solid piece of content. I formed a strategy – to connect with as many people as possible and create channels to send the letter to friends and family in order to give it the best chance at life I could 🙂
facebook_post_2_yew
*13 Shares, 91 Likes, 10 Comments


Wednesday, 12.30pm

Emails with SMH Editor Sends Response.
Platform: Gmail

I wanted to engage the Sydney Morning Herald early in the week. I wanted them to be clear that this was not an “Anti-Abbott” letter, like the March In March event had been labelled. This was a peaceful campaign. The letter simply asked for recognition for a solid community effort and a major newspaper to reconsider the idea of what it considered to be newsworthy.

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Wednesday, 2.30pm
Reflections
Before the March took place i remember reading a quote by Tony Abbott where he said St Pats day was the only March taking place on the 16th. It made me question if Mr Abbott’s team had read the events mission statement:

"A peaceful, non-partisan citizens’ march and rally at Federal Parliament to protest against the current government’s policy decisions that are against the common good of our nation. This signifies the people’s vote of no confidence in policies of the government that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage."

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Abbott’s words lacked compassion, intelligence and could be described as cynical.
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Reading the mission statement for this event was inspiring for me. On reflection I can only describe my attendance at the march as an act of support for the government. I was a citizen peacefully voicing concern for policies effecting human equality and the environment.

Wednesday, 3pm
Tweeting Our Prime Minister
The grapevine informed me that Twitter was a powerful platform for creating conversation. I endeavoured to strike up a chat with the Prime Minister with my new account.
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I tweeted PM Abbott a link to the blog highlighting that 75,000 + had viewed it – and that perhaps his dismissal – like the SMH’s – should be reconsidered.
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Not long after my tweets to the PM my account was suspended.

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Dang it.


Wednesday, 5pm

Comments on the Love Your Mother Blog Post.
Platform: WordPress

I had never considered creating a blog. For years I've been hearing of their value - however I never quite understood. It took a couple of minutes to create the blog, named it - themed it and post the letter. The first post received over 300 comments in a couple of days. My eyes were suddenly opened to a new platform. WordPress.

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Some classic trolling.. 
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Wednesday, 11.30pm
LATE NIGHT IDEAS – Tweeting with Russell Brand
Platform: Twitter

I’d been speaking with my buddies before the March In March about the role that high profile guys like Russell Brand can play in social change. I thought I’d try my luck striking up a yarn – knowing full well his passion for people sticking it to the man. Brand retweeted the letter to his 7.6 Million Followers.

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 11.50.52 PM The real success story was that the tweet received 58 retweets and favourited 50 times by community members in Australia. The digital conversation was growing (hopefully the real world chat too).Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 12.04.58 AMScreen Shot 2014-04-23 at 11.22.11 PM

Watch him speak & sing at the March In March HERE.


Thursday, March 20

THE FACEBOOK SHARES CONTINUED 
Platform: Facebook & Twitter
facebook_march_20*107 Likes, 49 Shares, 18 Comments.

The more people who contacted me during the campaign, the more I saw the idea of valuing “1 more person.” Imagine if 1 extra person felt some kind of connection to the letter and it inspired them to use their voice (online or offline) to do something.
That idea was the nourishment that I held on to. On a personal level, by this point I had become heavily engaged in the campaign, not sleeping, writing, contemplating, reaching out to anyone.

11am
TEXTS FROM MATES
A morning text message from an old Canberra Uni mate was a pleasant surprise.
Platform: iPhone & iMessage ready


Thursday, 5.45pm

Email from SMH Editor-in-Chief

Platform: GMAILScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 10.33.11 AM

Patience is a viture but I was hoping to receive a response fast to keep the story ticking. In hindsight I appreciate Darren Goodsir had a lot on his plate as Editor - and our community campaign was not something they could have planned for.


Thursday, 6pm
Online Twitter Rally
Platform: Twitter

"Friends - join in our Twitter adventure. We need to spark Conversation. Like all good Q & A Shows you need a balanced conversation. Dave Hughes, please stand up! Some folk to tweet could be: 

@TonyJones_qanda, @PeterFray, @ABCMediaWatch, @wendy_harmer, @nick_xenophon@turnbullmalcolm, @d_hughesy, @tanya_plibersek, @cassandragoldie, @triplejHack, @KathViner, @JasonClareMP"

*Dozens of friends use their twitter to message these people. This was a strong show of support. Whether Tony Jones read their tweet isn’t the point. We gave ourselves a chance by using the tools we had.


Thursday, 7pm
Email from SMH Editor-in-Chief
Platform: GmailScreen Shot 2014-04-18 at 11.29.11 PM
Thursday, 8pm
Views kept rising. 
The letter had been seen 84,999 more times than originally intended.
That was a celebration IMO
Platform: Facebook

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 10.53.12 AM*86 Shares, 103 Likes, 10 Comments


Thursday, 10pm till Sunrise
Getting Close to the Weekend.
Platform: Facebook

In a weary state I was surprised by the email from the SMH above. At the time I felt we had warranted a swift reply. Little did we know a response was on the way. I did a final push late on Thursday to keep the story circulating. If we could reach one more set of eyes – it was worth all of the effort.

Friday, 9am
I felt we deserved a response sooner so I voiced the opinion.
Platform: GmailScreen Shot 2014-04-18 at 11.29.52 PM

Friday, 2.26pm
Email from Sydney Morning Herald. Jackpot!
Platform: Gmail

4 days of online efforts meant we were going to get our story printed!
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Friday, 3pm
Facebook Announcement
Platform: Facebook & Twitter

Our story was international 90,000 times in countries such as Vietnam, France, China, Saudi Arabia & China and an official printed article was on the way.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 11.13.23 PM


Seconds later…
 My pal Sless shared the story on Facebook. He must have stumbled upon the SMH Homepage. It was a spin out to see personal reference – a small victory.
Read it here: http://bit.ly/1h3OSaG

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Friday, 4pm
Sydney Morning Herald posted the story on their
Facebook.
Platform: Facebook

View the SMHs’ FB post about Jacqueline Maley’s response HERE

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*226 Shares, 784 Likes


Friday, 5.30pm
Support from our Facebook Mob
I asked people to share their thoughts on the article. Read my FB post here.

From FB Post - "In regards to the piece published today by Jacqueline Maley on the SMH website there has been plenty of love and high fives flowing through cyberspace as it was a recognition of 5 days of teamwork. There has however been mixed opinions on the content, purpose and depth of the article. Please have a read and comment any thoughts you might have. Let's start a conversation. Don't be afraid to use your voice #MarchInMarch"

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*30 Shares, 49 Likes, 10 Comments

Friday Evening
SMH Team Tweet the article
– Q & A Join in the discussion.
Platform: Twitter

Critical Thinking: Twitter is a powerful news source for many people. In Australia it has been slow to take off - we don't quite grasp it's power, however it is a powerful tool when used to its full effect.

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Saturday, March 22
9am
I went to the Annandale Shops in my PJs to buy the Paper.

I rolled out of bed after my first proper sleep in a week. I raced up to the newsagent. I was shocked when asked for $3.20 (papers really are struggling). The Saturday SMH was thicker than I remembered. The response made it with full colour. It was a tangible result of the campaign efforts. 
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11am
We were listed first on Google for “March In March.”
Platform: Google
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Saturday, 12pm
I posted on FB asking the community to voice opinions on the article
Platform: Facebook

I wanted to encourage my personal Facebook community to voice their opinions in a digital setting. To train our brains not to be afraid of being wrong – or cut down for expressing ideas – especially if they are filled with positive intentions.  Read post here.

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*34 Shares, 90 Likes, 40 Comments

I gathered comments from friends and family from all walks of life re Maley’s article. There we hundreds – from strangers, old friends, new friends, family etc. It was empowering to see the energy each person piled into their peaceful and thoughtful responses.
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Sunday, March 23
Platform: Notebook, Pencil & Instagram

7.15am
On Saturday night I stayed up reading more community responses and started penning another response to the Sydney Morning Herald.
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The main criticism of the article was clear –  once again the paper did not recognise people who had marched in march reasons of positive change. Maley’s response was thoughtful, respectful and we were fortunate to have one at all – but IMO it wasn’t good enough. 100,000 people marched the streets for many reasons. These many issues were described by the paper as “grab-bag issues.” I saw real danger in this sentiment. In my mind – Newspapers like the SMH are the benchmark for upholding thoughtful use of language – and although it was an innocent remark, the truth is – it was cynicial.
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IMO the state of our environment should never be slapped with a  “Grab-bag issue” tag – nor should the safety of Asylum Seekers or the equality of minority groups.

 

Monday 9.15pm
Media Watch recognises our efforts!
Media Watch is a brilliant show. It is truth. Our community was recognised. It was a moment to celebrate our work being honoured on keystone Australian television show.

Read our community response to Maley’s article can be read HERE 🙂
Watch the full story HERE.

Tuesday, March 26
9am
Re-written Letter #2 Sent to Friends & Family

#teamwork #community

On Tuesday I had completed the 2nd letter – Attempt 2. I sent it of to a group of my closest kindest friends to get feedback. I ended up cutting the letter in half again. I was completely proud – and greatful that a dozen people were willing to give their time on a work day to spent reading, punctuating and suggesting changes. We had penned an absolute gem.


3pm

Introducing Snapchat
Platform: Snapchat iPhone App

On Tuesday Afternoon I hopped in my car to meet a friend for coffee. It dawned on me that I hadn’t listened to music for 4 days. I put on a mix CD and a song by Perth band Pond came on as I drove over the Anzac Bridge. The energy hit me like an electric shock – I felt like I was a young kid from 1981 who had never seen live music and accidentally stumbled into an ACDC concert. Listen HERE

It just so happened I was driving past Pyrmont (Sydney Morning Herald Offices) and I had Snapchat in my hands with Pond blasting. (see screenshot below of my Snapchat video).
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Tuesday 5pm
Sydney Morning Herald Comments Section Was Closed

Platform: Sydney Morning Herald Website

Jacqueline Maley’s article became a viral piece of content in its own right.
It generated hundreds of comments on the the SMH website, shared 4,800 times on Facebook and tweeted 625 times. This story would never have been written if it had not been for digital people power.

(Screen grab from SMH Website)
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Wednesday March 26
Letter #2 Launch Day

The big day had arrived. I had hoped to construct a response that represented all 100,000 of our digital people as best i could. A post by my friend Gino was all I needed to upload the words for blog post #2.
Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 4.36.11 PM

7pm
Letter #2 – the response to the Sydney Morning Herald article was shared
Read it HERE
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At this point in time – I understood that my personal Facebook network had supported the campaign for 7 days. Digital People Power was still fighting on – but we needed support to come from other places to re-ignite us. For 7 days I had been talking with the March In March organisers behind the scenes. This campaign presented incredible PR content for them. The success was their chance to leverage and reach a MUCH wider audience. To show a human side to the March not based upon hate to Tony Abbott.

The March In March Facebook page already had 100,000 likes. Very solid!
To show you the potential of what could have been – from my personal 1000 friends we had reached 100,000 people around the world.  Imagine then if we had started with a base of 100,000 people. Probability, social media mathematic algorithms and common sense would tell you this story would have hit 1,000,000 sets of eyes.

The March organisers decided to ignore our community campaign as they questioned my intentions. For lack of a better description, they thought I was a conspiracy theory.
Not one of the March’s Facebook pages Shared the Letter. Melbourne’s page had 50,000 Likes. Sydney: 20,000 and so on.  Just like the mainstream media had ignored the march, the admins on the Facebook pages ignored the letter. I take responsibility for this. My writing on social media at the time came across like was the pioneer.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 3.31.55 PM
*14 Shares, 55 Likes, 11 Comments


Thursday, March 27
PUSHING FOR OUR LEUNIG MOMENT

I had full faith if the March In March picked up the story and deployed the Social Media strategy i had sent them – that we would have seen a 2nd story in the Sydney Morning Herald. The digi-gods had been on our side up until this point. I posted Leunig content on Instagram and Facebook over the next 2 days to engage in a new way.

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Saturday March 29
Community Conversation & Support

Here is just a sliver of the huge amount of support from the 2 weeks 🙂
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Monday March 31, 2014
The End of March.

After 2 weeks of sharing this story It was time to look ahead. We had pushed this 2nd letter to 3000 people. There was nothing left to say. We had done an incredible thing.

Despite by best effort to build the trust of the March In March organisers, I wasn’t able to do so. I believe the 2nd letter had even greater potential to put pressure on Sydney Morning Herald’s somewhat cynical attiude towards the March movement. It wasn’t to be.

Nevertheless, at a guess – I would say there would have been 300,000 unique online interactions across all platforms – that’s not counting real world conversation.

8pm –  FINAL FACEBOOK POST
Namaste. (Raised in Byron Bay). 
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The Analytics of a Global Piece of Content. 103,500 views across 141 countries.

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People Power & Why Digital Communities Are Our Gateway To Freedom – SUMMARY
  • Love Your Mother Letter #1 can be read HERE.
  • Jacqueline Maley’s article can be read HERE.
  • Media Watch story can be seen HERE.
  • Letter #2 can be read HERE.
  • Digital People Power & The Road To Freedom Blog Post

Extra Materials

Critical Thinking: Scott Ludlum's speech was an incredible example of digital content. It spoke truth and was perfectly executed to be shared on digital platforms. Many have said this video was the main factor in him winning a Senate seat in the April WA election.

Platform: YouTube

Dear Sydney Morning Herald re The Two Sides Of The Story We Didn’t Run

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If you are not quite sure what you are about to read, please read the FULL STORY HERE.

The following is a letter responding to an article written by Jacqueline Maley in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday March 22nd 2014.
This 2nd letter was written on behalf of thousands of people who rallied behind a piece of writing representing a community striving to bring peace, compassion and unity. This effort was not deemed as “newsworthy” by a valued news source, The SMH. Thank you with all my heart to the FB gang. We’ve backed each other and learned valuable lessons on communicating with peace.

THE LETTER

Dear Sydney Morning Herald re The Two Sides Of The Story We Didn’t Run,

Thank you for responding to my letter Dear Sydney Morning Herald re The March In March in Saturday’s newspaper. The community appreciates Jacqueline Maley’s time in penning a thoughtful response. The SMH has provided us with a proud memento and evidence that the people have power. We understand there was an error in judgement and the paper’s honesty was appreciated. However it seems that our voice and request to have a balanced story on the March In March has fallen on deaf ears. The Sydney Morning Herald have now disappointed the Australian community, twice.

I want to express that although I personally have no faith in certain policies of the current government –  I am a firm supporter of good government. I have no doubt that our Prime Minister is a good man. I would go as far to say that being the Prime Minister of Australia would be the hardest job in the country. I believe that “A peaceful, non-partisan citizens’ march and rally at Federal Parliament to protest against the current government’s policy decisions that are against the common good of our nation” quoted as the mission of the March In March on their website, is in fact a beautiful initiative to support a government. I view Australia as a united community. To thousands of us the idea of a body of people peacefully marching in the streets expressing concern for policies that cover protection of asylum seekers in our care, equal rights for ALL human beings and protection of the Great Barrier Reef to be well worth marching for.

I have had phone calls, texts and comments of many people highlighting the paper’s use of “grab-bag” when referring to policies involving humans and the environment. We understand that it is a loosely used term, but to many of us it embodies the very cynicism we are trying to overcome as a community. As Billy Bragg said prior to the MiM in Sydney, our greatest enemy to overcome is not Gina, Tony, or the LNP – it’s the cynicism and vitriol fostered in our communities. Over the past ten days our community has banded together with an idea that through intelligent, thoughtful, civil communication we can create change – and we have. Not only did our search for truth get mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday – on Monday it featured on ABC’s Media Watch. I was quoted on the show as saying: “Yesterday was a big day and you blatantly ignored it.” In the eyes of our community this sentiment still applies.

We acknowledge that what Maley reported was true. There were signs calling our leader a ”f—wit” and more than a dozen signs with our Prime Minister’s face set to the backdrop of a phallus. We also agree that there was plenty of vitriol directed at Tony Abbott on display. However Maley’s cynical words that the march’s only uniting theme was “raw hatred of the Prime Minister“ is something that this community will not let through to the wicketkeeper. To clarify to anyone who couldn’t make it to the march or those who didn’t support it’s concept – the only true uniting theme of the March In March in Sydney was a quest for more compassion in our government’s policies and greater protection for this big old Australian land which has sustained communities for 60,000 years.

I embody the idea of a newcomer to the political world. Up until 2013 I was more interested in the swell forecasts and listening to Al Green on repeat. In my short time as a member of the politically aware club – I have observed constant online chatter in forums and Facebook that produce lengthy “conversations” that I’d best describe with the words “waffle” or “dribble” as my mate Leesy used to say. Newcomers to the field such as myself need to be mindful of our place. We need to be truthful in the knowledge we possess and understand that politicians and journalists like Jacqueline Maley are paid to be in their jobs. They come from a wealth of knowledge and understanding of political culture. Each mainstream media outlet, politician and person has an important role to play from here onwards. We all need to get to know our local communities, learn how to be civil and get along with respect, be it at a March in March or in a Byron Bay surf lineup, as opposed to moving without awareness and communicating with cynicism and vitriol.

I personally agree with Maley that the dismissal of the mainstream media is strange. This week has surely shown that people are hungry for the touch of paper on Monday mornings to go with their chai lattes and muffins. But what the week also demonstrated is that the media don’t dig hard enough for voices of truth within the community, for those who are seeking to inspire on days like MiM.

Sydney has incredible community stories all over. Why don’t we explore this more? While many do explore, why are the rest of us so apathetic to looking outside our bubbles? Or is it that we just don’t know where to find rich community information? Maybe it’s because the idea of individualism is fostered from the moment we are born when we are tagged with a name,  right up until the point we start taking “selfies.” Imagine a community that was encouraged to look outward more often, that a person could find happiness in assisting others. Australia was forged on the principles of community. It’s what sustained 60,000 years of Indigenous culture. We report on celebrities at the Ivy Pool when there are brilliant grass roots movements that would warm the heart of any reader. My analysis informs me that the Media would rather report on our Prime Minister being the number one ticket holder of a football club, than a true portrayal of a national march attended by over 100,000 people who sought to bring peace, compassion and love.

I don’t know if I’ll buy the Herald on Saturday. That decision lies in the hands of your team to decide if there is space. We all love sticking Michael Leunig cutouts on the fridge – his works are mementos that represent truthful compassionate explorations into the Australia’s collective consciousness. Our community would dearly love its own Leunig moment to honour our collective truth. If you are questioning “newsworthy” then I can tell you that 100,000 people have stated that reporting the truth on this event is very important to them.

Two weeks ago I posted a call-out on my Facebook inviting people to come and enjoy a morning in the backyard making colourful, peaceful signs with mantras protecting asylum seekers, giving the Aboriginal and LGBT communities equal rights and securing protection for our environment – home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a beautiful state full of forest. Maley was correct. We didn’t have one all-encompassing reason for the march to begin with. Then my buddy Julia strolled up the side path with her brother Eamonn. Eamonn at 17 years old, had made the decision to travel down from the Blue Mountains to the big smoke to share his love for people and the environment. When I was in year 11 I was too concerned with swell directions and kicking goals for the Byron Bay Rams, so when I saw young Eamonn coming I felt instantly inspired. He introduced his name and shook my hand with grace. I suppose you could say it was a “sweet” moment. We sat under tall trees with new friends listening to John Lennon, Aretha Franklin and an all star Aussie cast of Paul Kelly, Scott Ludlum, Warrumpi Band and Dan Sultan covering ‘Southern Sun.’ It was the idea that we were actually uniting around the idea of protecting our land for our youth.

With hindsight, the March In March signalled a chance to build a new community. A body of people who would intelligently and thoughtfully consider government policies that could be improved on the basis of humanity or environment. Having read thousands of comments, it appears that many view old-age care as something that needs addressing. Perhaps next march will focus one specific issue. That old-age care is a responsibility of our government? Either way – it’s nice to have the option if we ever need it.

Platform’s like March In March are forward thinking and community minded so should be supported by MSM, but when journalists such as Andrew Bolt make a move to fiercely dissect them to thousands of blog followers seeking to devalue them – what exactly is that achieving?

These types of thunderbolts are discouraging people from standing up to be heard. This is another form of cynicism from the media we need to eliminate. Why would anyone want to be associated with an event described as “witch-hunt” packed with “lefties”? I urge all Australians to read between the lines on this one. Make an educated decision.

Last night the March In March National Facebook page posted a statement acknowledging that certain activities “fell outside the vision of the event” and are being addressed for future. They reinforced the vision showing me forward, pro-active, intelligent thinking. The organisers can’t control who turns up on the day, but they should be proud to know that their efforts inspired Eamonn to give up his Sunday to travel down from the Mountains to the march, in a hope his voice would offer some support to our government.

That’s the other side that that the Sydney Morning Herald should have factored in before it went to print. The thousands of stories like Eamonn’s.

There is a new Australia in our sights where digital platforms are changing the terms of how and where we educate ourselves. Online platforms are built around nurturing communities with quality content. It will be interesting to see how the March In March embraces the limitless possibility of an already strong Facebook supporter base of 100k. The youth are starting to change and it’s inspiring the rest of us to put our iPhones away and hit the streets. It all comes back to nurturing our conversations, whether we are on the streets, at family dinners or out at the pub. If you have wisdom share it with peace. When I was 12 years old my Mum decided she needed a break from the chaos of Sydney and wanted to test the water of Byron Bay. I was in year 7 and I was just starting to see my life take shape. I was traumatised by the idea of moving. To her credit, mum used peaceful, intelligent thinking to get me on board. She said with a civil tone: “Hey, why don’t we just head up for 6 months and try it out?!” In my heart I knew it would be a longer journey but I trusted her intentions. I appreciated the way she was considerate to my feelings and didn’t use force. She opened my eyes to the beauty of the town and the the chance to learn to surf. That was all she needed to do.

On behalf of thousands, we thank the Sydney Morning Herald for overlooking the March In March event. It gave us a rare opportunity to show that people can rise to be heard.

Sincerely,
The other side of the story

Ps: Love Your Mother. She’s the earth under your feet.

Read the full story beginning March 16th 🙂

Join the Love Your Mother Facebook Team to join this conversation!

Thanks to the many pair of eyes who all my heart goes to Dom, Funky, Sanch, Gibbens, Sas and Til who’ve been reminding me to eat, drink and sleep for the past 10 days, Sri Sri Dawson for Spiritual support – and to Tay for planting the seed in my mind of “living to serve others.”
The seed has grown from a large community of selfless Facebook friends. Part 1 was established from this network alone, part 2 came from a much wider community.
To my dear Dad and mother Anna for backing me to go for the sun on this idea. Eternally greatful.

It’s wild the opportunities that arise for each of us if we are willing to come face to face with the truth inside. If we know the truth then it’s our duty to follow through – and bring it to the attention of others. Namaste

Dear Sydney Morning Herald re March In March

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Dear SMH,

Today my friends and I were flicking through your pages with a regular Monday morning happiness. As per Monday during footy season, we are fairly certain we navigated patiently through a double page spread describing an enthralling Dragons Vs Cowboys match in Wollongong with a quoted 8,345 attendees, but we may be confused with any week from the upcoming 26. Normally it’s quite tedious to scroll through the sports wrap, but we were happy to do so this morning as we reveled in the excitement of turning the pages and that beautiful moment when we would finally land in your heart to read about the mighty March In March. We searched and searched, turned and turned. We soon realized that there was NO mention of the march. Maybe we’d missed it? Was there a feature article insert that may have fallen out? It was a nationwide march, surely there was something? A political movement created by the people for the people that attracted more than 100,000 + attendees nationwide over 2 days with another massive day still to come in Canberra. This was not a poor mans competition to the annual St Patricks Day carnival parade as Tony Abbott more or less described it (St Pat’s we noted had some coverage on page 5) – this was a big moment for Sydney & Australia. March In March meant a lot of things to a lot of people, so much that #marchinmarch was trending nationally on social for more than 2 days – a movement of national consciousness created by an army of people, mums, dads, students, kids, ratbags and scallywags, socialists, greens, normals, hipsters, awakened corporates, teachers, community elders, Irishmen, tweeters, instagrammers, facebookers, hashtagees and hashtaggers. We figure your news team would search social media TRENDS for new content ideas? You must have noticed the fuss? We dressed up, spoke about truths, communicated compassion and frustrations. We sang with Billy Bragg and shared stories of why we want changes in Abbott government policy. It was more than the talk of the town. It was the talk across the pubs, clubs, dinner tables, beaches, parks, Saturday morning kids cricket carnivals and garage sales Australia wide.

Read the Full story of this Letter and it's journey to 100,000 views HERE. 

We understand that it is footy season so your pages are already well and truly reserved for the “Tahs” who no doubt appreciated your usual 2 page critique of their backline ball movement and scrummaging, and the mighty swans whose accuracy in front of the goals is always worth a solid 500 words, especially after a shock loss to the Giants!  – and in future circumstances, we would never want to be the ones responsible for you having to have “the talk” with Fitzy. Leave that man be. Don’t get us wrong, we understand all of your commitments to space. Likewise we noted your extensive coverage of the Tasmanian & South Australian state elections which pointed out the daunting amount of work Labor has ahead of it if they are to challenge Abbott at the next election – but was there really no room for the March In March? At all? Nothing? Not even a dribble in the socials pages? Actually there was some disguised mention of Billy Brag performing in Central – but you needed a diploma in braille to uncover the code: Billy, a hugely famous political activist with decades of history was performing in Belmore Park, Sydney – on a Sunday afternoon for the March In March. Is it that you guys are hard markers, or is that your paper is going through a crisis due to the decline in readership as the internet and quality online news content platforms look to eat you alive, that you couldn’t afford to send a reporter out on a Sunday pay rate?  If that’s the case – our condolences. It’s a sigh of relief to know that the Internet is creating transparency for the people of Sydney and Australia, and you will no doubt come to adjust to the changing world where people want a rounded display of content filled with substance and truth on a Monday morning. Maybe your team were on the bandwagon of cynicism like so many others, adding further to the plight of progress. Billy Bragg spoke of our greatest enemy being not the capitalist world we so often complain about, but the cynical world. A world where hope is cut down at the knees. It’s not hard to see where the cynicism develops when a world class newspaper such as the SMH fails to report on a movement of the people. Your silence astounds us, similar to the way Adam Goodes was astounded in a recent piece in the SMH when describing white Australia’s attitudes towards Indigenous Australian history. Why are we silent to the truth?

If you could do us one favour, please ask your chief what sort of information you are looking to cover in 2014, because it seems we need pointers. A couple of tips for you, your team and any aspiring writer for that matter looking to cut through in this age of constant content; write articles that people want to read and report on what matters to the people of Sydney. The SMH do this better than most, more often that not. But on March 16 and 17 – we say not. Not only was this day important for the folk who marched, it was the faces and reactions of the observers and the greater community that was a spectacle and the real story of the day. Thousands paused their Sunday shopping, tinder dates, jogs, TAB bets & ‘Sundey Arvo Beers’ to watch the 20,000 plus crowd – these people suddenly realised that they might have been “missing the boat” on Abbott’s policies of late. Their eyes were transfixed on EVERY sign. It was beautiful to watch onlookers de-code the signs – and suddenly feel connected to the issues and to consider the power that humans can have on each other. Suddenly a compassionate, considerate and conscious world seemed so much more important to every individual. We the marchers educated them, leaving them to go home with new knowledge, sense of self-empowerment, a new interest in Australian government activity, and most importantly hope.

Read the Full story of this Letter and it's journey to 100,000 views HERE. 

SMH, we write with the best of intention. We seek truth. Yesterday was a big day and you blatantly ignored it. Even the ABC gave us some airtime despite obvious pressures on them. Without trying to sound like bitterly disappointed children, we wish you all the best in your slow descent to the thin air of online content and the minds and memories of paper loving Sydney journeymen such as ourselves. We have sincerely appreciated our relationship with you over the last 20 years – the unforgettable experience of being able to walk out to the front door step of our Grandma’s house, unwrap you, feel your soft smooth texture and that fresh smell of ink of a morning. You offer so much. You’ve taught us a healthy portion of the things we know about the world, arts, culture, politics, sport, crosswords and life. Your pages will never be forgotten by us, but we’re putting you in the sin bin for a little while. Like Abbott, if you work with us, the people, we will work with you. We are all in this together. We want everyone on the field at all times working together, as after all we are all one. We’re sure that you don’t need Nostradamus to point out the way the new generation are already consuming media with online content certainly being the way forward – and we noted your inclusion of Jacqueline Maley’s little piece – so your URL has been added to our favourites, but if you are going to go to the efforts of printing to the streets, at least pay attention to the real news. We needed you yesterday. More than anything it would have been a great symbol of respect – honouring the hard work done by thousands of people whose hands and feet moved purely with the intention to compassionately care for their treasured country.

In case you wanted to see what you missed – here is a beautiful video from the Melbourne march: http://vimeo.com/89244643

Sincerely

Timothy Pembroke
Annandale

What Happened Next? Read part 2 of the story HERE !

OR Read the FULL STORY of the path to 100,000 views HERE.

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