Students at Side by Side  and the panel talking at the conference
14 February 2020

SidebySide conference

​The premise of the day was to explore the question, “How can we create a fair and equitable society?” Through various speakers and panels, we were enlightened on instances of social inequality such as economic disparity, the generation gap, prejudices against gender and religion, LGBTQ+ rights, as well as so many other thought-provoking topics. Emma Alberici, Chief Economics Correspondent for the ABC, spoke about her personal experience as a modern-day working woman, trying to balance home life with her work obligations. Tim Costello spoke about the divide between parochial and cosmopolitan thinking and that divides will not be crossed if we do not sit with people who disagree with us and listen.  Raja Yassine, Ambassador for the Crescent Foundation and humanities teacher, shared her story of growing up as a Muslim woman, making her way in a world that is wary of those practising her faith. Our very own Ms Turnbull Brown was on a panel discussing the generational divide, where three grade twelve students discussed the fact that the opinions of younger generations are often ignored.

Overall, I found the experience to be very eye-opening, but also deeply troubling. Yes, you might see these issues in the news, but until you hear the stories, meet the people our societal prejudices directly affect, you do not truly understand quite how serious these issues are. We need to understand the experiences of different parts of our society in order to be united in tackling inequality.

Eden (Year 11)