Today I had the honour of attending a very special event. It was a breakfast to support White Ribbon Day which highlights the need to keep up the fight against violence towards women. The Student Health Council from James Cook High was invited to the event and I was lucky enough to be able to accompany them.
The line-up of guest speakers was quite special too and I was sitting next to an Auckland City Counsellor, who was entertaining in his own right. One of the guest speakers was a guy who had been through a pretty tough period when he was young, with gang involvement and various other activities that he is upfront about. He now acts as a beacon of hope to many people and is a strong supporter of the White Ribbon Day. His speech was inspirational.
Then Jules Huiana Mariu snag for us and when she sang Carol King's hit song, ‘Just like a Woman.’ It sent shivers down my spine. You will know she's amazing if you ever get the chance to hear her.
Some of you may have seen a young man on TV form Mt Roskill Grammar who is an incredible poet/rapper. His name is Joshua Siope-Iosefa. The first time I saw and heard him on TV I thought, ‘What a guy. What a message.’ I’m not sure what the name of his performance was but it is a message that needs to be heard and it is delivered with passion, skill and cannot fail to move. We are going to see much more of this remarkable young man.
It is timely that we mark this special day. Violence in all its forms is repugnant and that against women and children is particularly so. If this day helps in any way to address this scourge on society then let’s make it bigger each year. Men need to stand up and own the issue and address their part in it.
Those men, presenting today have given and will continue to give, so that the issue is not forgotten. For the rest of us males, we must not stand by and do nothing when we see violence. As one of the speakers said, ‘it’s not about toughening up,’ it’s about owning the problem and doing something about it.’ We can do this by walking the road of non-violence ourselves. ‘Show, don’t just tell’ would sum up our much needed approach.
Spread the word through your own actions my friends.