The event on Sunday 7th April to celebrate George Winston’s award of Citizen of the Year for the Blue Mountains brought the spirit of celebration into an area of life that is often bleak. The speakers were all inspiring and the Tibetan dancers, led and trained by Samzin Kalang, BMRSG’s newest committee member, set the scene with grace and beauty.
The event was opened by Aunty Carol Cooper, local Gundungara and Daruk elder. welcoming people to country. She spoke movingly of the need for all Australians to affirm each other and make sure everyone was made welcome. Mayor Mark Greenhill spoke stirringly of the values of humanity, inclusion, acceptance and equality and his admiration of the way George lived these out. The refugee speaker outlined how he had found a new family in Australia after a terrifying time of oppression and Suzie Opdorp affirmed George’s work from the early days until 2019. George ‘s reply affirmed the feelings expressed by the refugee speaker from his own refugee experience and thanked everyone for their contributions. A beautiful presentation of native Australian flowers and a Tibetan shawl by committee member Samzin Kalang was a fitting tribute to George.
George and Jean delighted everyone by their dance moves in a jive as the audience clapped in time. Watching the gladness of the asylum seekers and refugees joining with us all to do the Tibetan circle dance was a high point as was a hearty sing along of the second verse of the national anthem the values of which George has worked so hard to encourage.