On Thursday 16 March in Week 7 Pembroke Middle School held an event to create awareness for National Close the Gap Day. This campaign is all about raising awareness and trying to reduce the life expectancy gap and overall average health difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia. In the Middle School the event is run by a team of willing Year 9s who are supported by some staff to come up with ideas to run an awareness-raising event that can happen in a lunchtime. The event needs to be designed to allow maximum participation across a short time span and should be accessible by everyone in the Middle School.
This year we decided to create a huge banner where people could add their names to the campaign. The committee did a lot of brainstorming and refined our idea to creating a banner with the words ‘Close The Gap’ on it in bold green, with a black space in the middle that represented the average ‘gap’. All our participants could write their names in white marker within the black space, representing us committing to ‘closing the gap’. On the other, white parts of the banner everyone placed a black-paint fingerprint, representing the Indigenous community through a kind of dot painting. Before the actual event we presented in the Middle School assemblies to help everyone understand why this campaign was so important. Throughout the day we raised awareness by telling people about the event and its meaning, giving people stickers and, for the Year 9 team plus a few lucky others, temporary Close the Gap tattoos.
Overall, the day was a huge success and almost the whole Middle School turned up to contribute to the banner and help raise awareness for this important cause. Everyone who was involved in the creative process of the banner and event had heaps of fun. We really enjoyed the chance to be part of the committee and we encourage any current Year 8s to consider getting involved next year.
A. Williams and A. Grantham both (Yr 9) on behalf of the 2017 Close the Gap Committee