• Day One Voices For Justice - The Micah Summit

    Posted by Micah Challenge

    15 September, 2012

    Rewind your memories back to New Year’s Eve 1999. What were you doing to welcome in the new millennium? Were you celebrating this momentous milestone by wearing novelty glasses shaped like ‘2000’? Were you gathering supplies in anticipation of the Y2K bug?

    As a ten-year old, I remember watching the fireworks on television with my family, and together with the rest of Australia, we were excited to be part of this once-in-a-thousand year occasion.

    As humanity heralded the new millennium, our world leaders shared our sense of newfound potential. Why create New Year’s resolutions, when you could create new millennium resolutions? As we start a new chapter in humanity, what could we do to make a lasting change?

    With this in mind, our leaders came together at the Millennium Summit. Powered by possibilities, they committed to the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

    Fast-forward 12 years. There’s a buzz in Canberra today as a hundred handpicked Australians gathered for the Micah Summit, held before the start of Voices for Justice. While it wasn’t quite the Millennium Summit, the event brought together passionate Micah supporters to contribute to the campaign leading up to 2015, the MDG deadline, with an unrivalled sense of energy and determination.

    As Christians, we were reminded that advocacy is a tool of love and while politicians have become complacent to the aid commitments, we needed to surprise and challenge them. With a flurry of informative statistics and colourful diagrams, Mark McCrindle, the founder of McCrindle Research gave us an insight to the trends that are redefining our country.

    “Change doesn’t have to be generation to generation,” Mark explained, referring to the rapid change happening in our world, across generations and the explosion of technology that has created new opportunities to connect. As well as a soft spot for statistics, Mark adored alliteration. He told us that it is important to tap into these changes to create real, relevant, responsive and relational campaigns, involving creativity, community and currency.

    Tim Dixon speaks to the Micah Summit participants about power, politics & social changeTim Dixon speaks to the Micah Summit participants about power, politics & social changeTim Dixon speaks to the Micah Summit participants about power, politics & social change

    Tim Dixon, a Senior Fellow of Purpose.com and former speech writer to Kevin Rudd and the Prime Minister, a leading social enterprise movement took us time-travelling to various social movements led by Christians who stood up against the flow, rallied against injustice and demanded change. “We understand justice by looking at the sources of injustice. Don’t jump to the symptom but look at the cause,” he said. 

    Tim challenged us to examine the sources of power and how poverty is a product of power imbalance. Jesus changed the power game by not dominating, but blessing, bringing power from underneath rather than above. Only through effective and strategic movements, which generate awareness and challenge power structures, will change occur.

    So will change occur? Fast-forward now to 2015 or even 2020. Will we reminisce at our achievements in halving world poverty and ensuring Australia played its part, or will we look back at the missed opportunity to make a lasting difference?

    Luckily, there is still time. Next year’s federal election is the last election before the 2015 deadline. Never has there been a more important time to raise our voice for the voiceless. It’s time to finish off what we started in 2000.

    In the pages (or perhaps holograms) of history, let us be remembered as the movement that shared God’s love for the poor and halved poverty in the New Millennium.

    John Beckett dons half a beard to illustrate why we need to 'finish what we started'.John Beckett dons half a beard to illustrate why we need to 'finish what we started'.John Beckett dons half a beard to illustrate why we need to 'finish what we started'.

    ______
     
    Phil Chan is a committed Micah Challenge Campaigner and participant at this year's Voices For Justice and regularly attends St Barnabas Broadway in Sydney.