What motivates us to bring others together and make a change?
This is a question we often consider at Make a Change Australia. We are always on the look out for inspiration, new skills and support to make a change. We were certainly struck by Claudia Bowman’s story in the magazine Dumbo Feather last year.
“It was grief, shock and outrage,” Claudia explains. “ That something so horrendous could happen in our neighborhood.”
Claudia and her family live in Kings Cross, Sydney. In the lane-way behind Claudia’s home a young Belgium tourist was raped, on her third day in Australia. The young woman, Kirsten was travelling on a working visa. With help from her home embassy she escaped from Australia. This event triggered Claudia to activate her community and bring them together, acknowledging this tragic event in Kirsten’s life.
“A lot of people have come to grief in our neighborhood. Kings Cross has a reputation and often people think there is nothing they can do about it,” Claudia pauses. “You need to be the change you want to see and take charge of a situation so you aren’t swept down a river of complacency.”
Claudia activated her community and brought them together in the very lane way where the traumatic incident took place. “Bringing people together back in the lane was an act of showing solidarity and stamping this behavior out”.
Claudia contacted Kirsten’s home embassy with the photo and a note of sympathy from the community of Kings Cross. From this act of reaching out with the people of her community a connection began to grow between Kirsten and the community of Kings Cross. What happened next was amazing. The community hosted a return visit by Kirsten back to Australia. “Everyone wanted to help out, some by purchasing groceries, some by providing accommodation or tickets to a show, even a sea plane ride. We were trying to load up each other with good memories and work with positives rather than negatives.”
“Small things have positive trajectories for a long time,” Claudia shares with me. “I hope that if anything ever happens to my children, that the community around them comes together for them.”
You can also read more about Claudia and her community in Dumbo Feather interview: Claudia Bowman is a good neighbor.