Jesuit Social Services’ Just Voices Speakers Program has launched into 2018 with an Indigenous ceremony at Xavier College’s Kostka Hall in Brighton.

New Xavier College Principal William Doherty and Just Voices Speakers Program participant Monica Karo.

Indigenous actress, singer/songwriter and presenter for the Just Voices Speakers Program Monica Karo outlined the importance of Aboriginal culture to the assembled students, parents and teachers. She sang her original song called Lady of the Lake, a special tribute to the stolen generation.

As a Gunnai and Gunditjmara descendant, born and raised in Gippsland, Monica believes her cultural identity plays an essential role in her artistic expression and identity. Awarded Miss NAIDOC in 2015, she used this as a platform to drive change, challenge injustices, and inspire other young people.

Monica and the Just Voices team met the brand new principal of Xavier College, William Doherty. In his first address to the school, William thanked Monica for her contribution and talked about the meaning of importance of being kind to others.

Kostka’s Head of Teaching and Learning Callum Parker said ”I think Monica’s presentation was perfectly timed to help continue the discussion about what it means to be an Australian.

”The concept of needing to say sorry to move forward is such a powerful one. I am keen to really make better use of Jesuit Social Services’ speakers service this year to help build the experiences of our students”.

In the past few years, Just Voices speakers and musicians from the Artful Dodgers Studio have performed at more than 200 schools, corporate events, benefit concerts, church meetings and conferences.

Speakers program co-ordinator, Danielle Sherry said she was excited about a new range of recruits destined to make their debut this year.

”We have Monica, a wonderful musician and educator, rapper Adrian Eagle who uses hip hop as his tool to talk to young people about body image and Eunhee who escaped from North Korea and bravely wanting to share her story.

”Add to this, other people we already work with like Sudanese acoustic act The Travellers with voices like angels, South Sudanese storyteller Agum, rappers Sammy, Pacific islander Lochie and Aidan who have great tales of overcoming adversity and finding music, former West Papuan refugee Jefry and Sierra Leone refugee Isaiah and current asylum seeker Reza from Afghanistan”.

To engage a speaker from the Just Voices Speakers Program please contact Danielle Sherry 0408 424 779 or Paulie Stewart 0430 031 630