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Walk Together celebration unites families, community

Dozens of families literally walked to the beat of the same drum on Saturday for the second annual Border Walk Together celebration in Albury and Wodonga.

Hosted by the Albury Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council, the walk started at Gateway Village and made its way into NSW, following the Murray River through Noreuil Park to the Hovell Tree Park picnic area before returning to Gateway Village.

Ezou Family Drummers provided music at both ends of the walk and also kept the beat during the event.

Joseph and Akossiwa Ezou have been one the Border for a decade, moving from West Africa, and regularly perform in a djembe drum ensemble across regional Australia.

Organisers were delighted with the attendance considering the event clashed with several key events across the Border at the weekend.

“It was a really good day, we had a good turnout and lot of very committed people and everyone was signing from the same page,” Ethnic Communities Council chairperson Sue Portors said.

“We had a lot of people who wanted to help make sure we welcomed our refugees and migrants and help get them settled into Australian life and actively becoming Australian citizens or residents.”

Walk Together is Welcome to Australia’s annual celebration of Australia’s diversity, designed as a tangible expression of the welcoming, fair and compassionate society.

While it was just the second Border walks, the even has been going for six years with walks in all capital cities and 10 regional centres.

“For things like this it does take a few years to really catch on,” Ms Portors said.

“When you have a weekend with so many things going on there’s always going to be segments of the community drawn between what to do, what event to go to, so it is very difficult.”

Because the Border event was part of a national day, organisers were unable to switch dates but those who attended highlighted a strong sense of community.

“I think we’ve made great strides around here. Albury-Wodonga is a very welcoming area,” she said.

“The individuals we get here come with a very definite desire to become part of the community and then they in turn want to give back to people from their background who are coming here as well. “It is a national event and it will only grow stronger every year we do it. It will get bigger and bigger.”