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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
HANNAH ROBINSON PURPLE REIGNS
AT ST CLARE'S TAREE
Ever y one of us is a living being -- we all breathe, we can
all suffer and we all have the capacity to love.
This common humanity, this concur rent understanding of
suffering and love, underlies the work and actions of the
Human Rights Group at St Clare's High School, Taree.
The Human Rights Group is a student-led organisation
established less than a year ago and it is guided and
suppor ted by teacher s who share a common passion
for equality and justice. The group was established on
the four pillar s of compassion, knowledge, perspective
and diver sity to promote the inherent value of every
The 'Wear It Purple' campaign is a youth-led initiative
which aims to end homophobic bullying. The campaign
has a simple message : wear purple to show that you will
fight to end homophobic intoler ance in your community.
Recently, St Clare's High School launched its second
'Wear It Purple' initiative.
St Clare's Human Rights Group recognised this event as
being crucially impor tant for a number of reasons. While
it was an oppor tunity to express integrity and dedication
in the group's message of acceptance, it was , more
impor tantly, an oppor tunity to promote well-being in
In planning and discussing the event, we looked into
figures regarding youth suicide and specifically LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual, tr ansgender) youth suicide. We
were staggered at what we found. In Austr alia, 35%
of the LGBT community (who make up 10% of the
gener al community) will attempt self-harm or suicide. In
a school the size of St Clare's with some 700 students,
this equates to about 25 students attempting self-har m
or suicide. As a group, we found these figures hear t-
breaking and they confir med the impor tance of what
we were doing.
The day itself was a huge success -- students and teacher s
were invited to wear an ar ticle of purple clothing such
as a shir t, socks or scar f. Many students and many
teachers did so -- each looking vibr ant and beautiful in
varying shades of purple. A table decorated in ever y
shade of purple was set up with purple ribbons, official
'Wear It Purple' wristbands, balloons and stickers. By the
end of the day, over 200 wristbands and 400 ribbons
had been distributed. Fur thermore, purple cardboard
hear ts were cut out, on which students and staff could
write messages stating their suppor t for the fight to end
homophobic bullying. These are displayed around our
school hall where they will be a per manent reminder
of our love , acceptance and commitment to help and
respect each other always.
Now the Human Rights Group is taking action to
make 'Wear It Purple Day' a permanent fixtur e in our
school calendar. Meanwhile, we will continue to work in
the name of compassion, knowledge, per spective and
diversity, promoting a more loving community.
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Students Chloe Norman (left) and
Lara Hosgood 'wearing it purple'.
St Clare's student Hannah Robinson is a member of the Senior
Leadership Team and belongs to the Human Rights Group.
Hannah was one of the key organisers of Wear it Purple. Please
visit w w w.tareesc.catholic.edu.au.
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