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First Walk Together event to celebrate diversity being held at Gateway Village on Saturday

The inaugural Walk Together event is the most visible the Albury Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council has so far established, and there’s more in the pipeline.

AWECC project co-ordinator Brett Sanderson said the first Border walk to celebrate diversity was a casual way to send a very important message.

“That’s the beauty of this – people walking, talking and getting to know each other is not a big political statement but it’s as simple as people coming together,” he said.

“It’s to continue fostering a sense of social inclusion in all aspects of our community – in employment, service provision, education, everything.”

Walk Together is supported by both councils, Gateway Health, the Albury-Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau and a range of other community groups.

AWECC chairman Teju Chouhan said the most important partner in a celebration of multiculturalism was the Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation.

“We always make a point to recognise and appreciate all the Australian first people,” he said. 

“It’s their land and culture and the welcoming gesture has been extended to us from them too, so we have to appreciate that.

“Despite the political rhetoric we have now about people coming to Australia, we just want to say that this is not our experience here – we have felt welcomed.”

Mr Chouhan said AWECC was negotiating a significant funding agreement with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship about establishing more events.

“We have quite a few projects in the pipeline and we’re working on that,” he said.

“We have cultural diversity week, harmony day events and so forth and we want to send the message out to the people in the community that we can do more.

“When people start to talk (about diversity) it can take any form or shape and we want to ignite that conversation.”

Walk Together will start and end at Gateway Village on the Lincoln Causeway.

On-the day registrations began at 9.30am and all are welcome.