Getting Kids out of detention is worth jumping up and down for.
Towards the end of last year, despairing at the plight of children being held in appalling conditions in Australian detention centres, Virginia Francis, Education Officer at the Catholic Education Office Sydney, felt she needed to do something. The words of the UN Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs were ringing in her ears: “Why aren’t more people jumping up and down about this issue?” She decided she would do just that, and provide an opportunities for others to do the same.
So began ‘Jump Up&Down 4 Kids’, a campaign designed to bring to the public conscience the plight of children in immigration detention. It was a simple idea: photograph or video people literally jumping up and down and share the image or video on social media. A few months down the track and the campaign keeps getting bigger. People of all ages and from all walks of life have ‘jumped for kids’, including former Australian of the Year Ian Kiernan, Olympians Melissa Wu and James Magnussen, NSW State of Origin player Josh Reynolds and the entire CEO Sydney Leadership Team. Soon Jump Up&Down 4 Kids will even have its own song.
Virginia believes the idea has captured people’s imagination because they know in their hearts that keeping young children locked up is simply cruel.
“Keeping children in prison-like conditions is not only hurting them, it is hurting us all,” Virginia said. “All children, regardless of where they come from have a right to play, learn, and feel safe. Jump Up &Down 4 Kids is a call for action, not just in Catholic schools but in the broader community.”
At the time of writing this story, refugee advocacy group ChilOut reports that 222 children are currently being held in immigration detention, either in offshore facilities or on the Australian mainland. Virginia and others committed to continue to”jump up and down” until every child is out of detention and placed in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.
To find out more about Jump Up&Down 4 Kids go to the Facebook page or follow the campaign on Twitter at @Jumping4Kids.