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Throw a Party, Make A Friend: Social Inclusion Week

The fast life is seductively appealing, no question, but as its vortex continues to suck us in, it becomes ultimately clear that we know more about our favourite technological gadgets than we do about each other. Tea parties have been replaced by Facebook Chat, there are an astonishing number of people on Twitter on a Friday night and we no longer have to borrow sugar from our neighbour when we can simply order it online. Indeed, these are the days when nobody knows our name, and they couldn’t really care less whether we came – unless of course we get so drunk that we throw up all over their shoes. Then they might notice.

Given that social exclusion is one of the leading causes of depression, it’s no wonder we’re so fucked up. In this age of unlimited wireless connection, it appears as though we are far more disconnected than ever before. The fact that we have to PAY for said wireless connection? Now that’s just annoying.

So, what’s the solution? Back to the golden years we go?
Ew. Of course not. But then again, it wouldn’t hurt to smile at each other every now and again. Which is why Dr Jonathon Welch AM decided to create a “Social Inclusion Week.” It sounds a little lame, but the drive behind it is anything but. After all, being snooty might be a little glamorous from time to time, but does it really make us happy? Okay, okay, but it’s FALSE happiness, you should know.

Jonathon says that social exclusion is one of the biggest challenges we face in this rapidly advancing 21st century – the result of which includes isolation and loneliness, among other fun feelings.

“I think people really do underestimate just how important it is to feel connected and cared for,” Jonathon said.
“Yes, we need the essentials like food, water and clean air, but to really grow and prosper not only as individuals, but as a society, we also need love, friendship and support.”

Feeling the fresh bite of big city living when he moved to Sydney at 30 years old, he describes what was meant to be one of the best times in his life as one of the loneliest. Anyone who has left their friends behind in similar vain is bound to relate.

“If we are to move forward as an accepting, inclusive society, we need to take a stand against the fragmentation of our community, and we need to take responsibility to connect with one another and support each other,” he says.

So, Social Inclusion Week. Did somebody say street party?
You can. Go on, throw one. It will be part of National Street Party, so you know what that means. It’s legal!
And if somebody vomits on your shoe, well… get their name and number, and invite them over for dinner the next night. Maybe just leave the wine out for this one.

words: Jacqueline Flint & Seema Duggal


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