IMLM post Walk 2016 PRESS RELEASE
The International Mother Language Day Walk is getting bigger and better, according to the president of Canberra’s International Mother Language Movement committee Mr Ziaul Hoque.
Sunday, February 21, on which the UNESCO-designated day is held, saw a large crowd of multilingual Canberra walking across the lake from the flag display under Questacon to Commonwealth Park in a show of strength for the use and acceptance of diverse languages under the 2016 slogan, “Walk together, talk together.”
Members of many diverse language groups waving their association’s banners were welcomed by Caroline Hughes Director of the CIT’s Yurauna Centre on behalf of the Ngunnawal People. They were joined by dignitaries, including the Hon. Gai Brodtmann Member for Canberra, Nipuni Wijewickrema, Social entrepreneur Young Australian of the Year 2016 (ACT), H.E. Kazi Imtiaz Hossain High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Australia. ACT Arts Minister Dr Chris Bourke. launched the proceedings.
As the crowd commenced their walk across the Commonwealth Ave Bridge, at Stage 88, the Gourmet Band was opening the cultural showcase with a little rock music, swiftly followed by the Wassa Wassa African Drumming group from Red Hill Primary School, Portuguese dancers from the Monaro Portuguese school, the school children singing from the Australia School of Contemporary Chinese and the ACT Tongan Language and Cultural School choir.
A new feature of Mother Language Day came in the form of entirely original performance poetry, mostly written especially for Mother Language Day. Ngambri elder Shane Mortimer recited a poem in the Guumaal Language and other poems performed by Jessie Liu, Sayan De, Tyson Powell, Abhi Gupta, Tasnim Hossein and Jolly Bhattacharjee.
The program also featured songs by a group drawn from Canberra’s Afghan community, a Gujarati folk dance by Divya Joshi, the Bangladeshi mother language song and, in a lively finale, Dante Musica Viva Italian choir singing two Neapolitan songs, ‘Funiculi Funicula’ and ‘O Sole Mio’ as the audience clapped along. Although initially overcast, the day quickly turned sunny, perfect for the younger visitors, who made good use of the jumping castle, henna and children’s drawing tables.
Event coordinator Mr Ross Dennis mentioned that the Language Walk and cultural program has been a great success in bringing together so many nationalities and languages together in one place to be celebrated. He also noted that Canberrans have now been celebrating the International Mother Language Day since 2014 with this event now becoming a firm favourite in the fabric of Canberra’s community.