Photo, from left to right: Sue Finucane, Laurie Mason, Max Costello, Cecily Mason, Gary Johnson, Colleen van der Horst
JUNE 2020 – Congratulations AIREY’S INLET LETTER WRITING GROUP
This month our UNSUNG HEROES are a group of amazing people from Airey’s Inlet RAR.
This group of dedicated people work hard to ensure they have the facts behind the letters they write to politicians and people of influence, and have developed this into a monthly campaign approach. Many RAR groups now use their work in their own letter-writing.
It is worthwhile telling the story of how this group developed to this point.
At the 2018 RAR National Conference many members voiced their admiration of Cecily Mason from Airey’s Inlet RAR who spent considerable time looking after RAR tee shirt sales and asking conference participants if they wanted to receive monthly notification and samples of letters developed by the Airey’s Inlet Letter Writing Group.
RAR groups write hundreds of letters each year which is extremely time consuming, not to mention the effort in selecting a topic and establishing the facts. Members thought this was a superb initiative. Thoroughly researched facts and samples of letters are an essential component or RAR letter writing campaigns and to have this work performed by such a dedicated team is fantastic.
Many people since the conference have commented of the effort, motivation and persistence which is involved each month in agreeing on a topic, researching, planning and writing really focused letters which support RAR priorities and campaigns.
Aireys Inlet RAR re-emerged in July 2014 under the leadership of Katherine Feather and Mary Bremner. The Letter Writing Team of Cecily, Gary and Laurie was one of five new special interest groups created.
The initial letter in August 2014 covered the issue of children in detention in Nauru. It was quickly realised that letter writing was most effective when a small team thoroughly researched and referenced a current topic for a letter to parliamentarians and national opinion leaders.
In 2015 the letter writing group with team leader Cecily and chief researcher Lawrie became involved in Julian Burnside’s letter writing campaign to people in detention, writing to the men in Manus. The members who had responses developed close relationships with the Manus men, with some still communicating today.
In early 2018 postcards related to the current letter were introduced at Aireys market, proving very popular with the general public. Recently Colleen Van der Horst joined the team, she excels at creating eye catching postcards with succinct messages on the current topic.
Currently the AIRAR letter writing team consults with the RAR Campaign Team providing “fact checked” letters that are distributed across RAR and other groups on “hot topic” issues such as ‘Kids Off Nauru’, ‘Medevac’, ‘The Cost of Detention’.
Members of the team are: Cecily & Laurie Mason, Sue Finucane, Max Costello, Colleen van der Horst and Gary Johnson.