At a community meeting organised by newly-elected Socialist Alliance Councillor for City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) Sarah Hathway on July 17, Norlane residents spoke out about their anger at the front page coverage The Geelong Advertiser had given to a tiny Nazi group.
The residents then came up with a plan, Hathway told Green Left.
They reminded her about the 2016 terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, in which three young Afghan refugees who were wearing hijabs were attacked by a gang of youths and an adult woman.
The community there responded by organising hundreds of people to hold “We Stand Together” placards in a harmony walk which reclaimed a park.
“Why would The Advertiser want to report hateful racist actions by a tiny group that does not reflect the majority’s views?,” Hathway said. “There is no place for hatred in multicultural suburbs like Norlane and Corio.”
The residents organised a “Keep Geelong Diverse and Colourful: You’re Welcome Here” banner paint on July 22, which was attended by more than 20 community members and their children.
Norlane resident Jenna Wade told Green Left: “We will not let negative hate speech and actions overcome us, or allow racists with extremist ideals undo all the good work we’ve done to create a safe and welcoming community.”
Hathway said the banners will be held up outside the CoGG Council meeting on July 25. The Norlane community will now be joined by Combined Refugee Action Group.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia will also attend, after their Geelong offices were targeted by the Melbourne-based Nazi group.