Olive Ribbon Campaign: all about standing together

The Olive Ribbon Campaign was launched late last year as a response to attacks on Muslim and Arab communities.

The Martin Place siege in December has bought the campaign into sharper focus.

Western Sydney Community Forum (WSCF) Executive Officer Mary Waterford said the campaign was launched by the Forum, in consultation with the United Muslim’s Women’s Association and the Arab Council of Australia.

“The idea of the olive ribbon was similar to the white ribbon symbolising an end to violence against women,” Mary said.

“The olive ribbon would be a symbol of standing together with Arab and Muslim communities and more broadly about not singling out any one community.”

The ribbon is presented on a card which bears the following words:

“This ribbon symbolises our living and working together peacefully and respectfully, inclusive of people of all ethnicities and all faiths or none. We pledge not to position any community as ‘the other’. We are one Australia which will not be divided. Our diversity makes us stronger and richer and we will stand together – hurt one of us and you hurt us all.”

The ribbon has been distributed by members of the Sydney Alliance, a coalition of community and faith-based organisations and unions working together for a better Sydney.

After the Martin Place siege the ribbon was widely distributed throughout the city including through religious organisations of various faiths, encouraging people not to single out Muslims in a negative way.

Ribbon making working bees have sprung up in offices and homes. “We want to encourage people to make it their own and spread word through their networks,” Mary said.

She suggested teachers could use the olive ribbon as a conversation starter for a discussion about inclusivity in class and children could make their own ribbons.

See http://www.wscf.org.au/20-frontpage/583-olive-ribbon-campaign