SJIEC showcases prismatic policy at Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > SJIEC showcases prismatic policy at Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade

SJIEC showcases prismatic policy at Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade

by Freya Lucas

March 22, 2024

2024 is a milestone year for Social Justice in Early Childhood (SJIEC), a not for profit, politically active organisation working for social justice issues pertaining to the lives of children.


Formed in 2004, the Sydney based group has a national and international membership base of early childhood teachers and educators, consultants, academics, researchers, managers, community people, and those generally interested in the rights of children. 


As well as events such as its annual  “Throwing the baby out with the bathwater” conference and its Anti-Bias Awards program, SJIEC is a regular participant in Sydney’s internationally famed Mardi Gras parade, taking advocacy to the streets in spectacular style, this year in a walking float titled “Prismatic policy is our future.” 

“The theme for the 2024 parade was Our Future,” SJIEC Board Member Stephen Gallen explained. 


“Organisers asked participants to consider the theme as not just a theme, but as a call to action, and a bold invitation to define and shape our path forward as an LGBTQIA+ community.” 


“When we considered that through an early childhood education and care (ECEC) lens, we thought immediately of policy. With so much movement in the ECEC policy space of late, there’s infinite possibility when it comes to the way these policies and changes reflect back on to the lives of children and families.” 


The SJIEC float had 23 members from New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, reflecting the span of SJIEC’s reach and the interest in being part of spreading messages about the value of ECEC to the broader community. 

In keeping with the theme, members of the group carried signs sharing the value of early learning, which were shared with enthusiasm from the crowd of (number) lining the parade route. 


“It was amazing to see the reaction from the crowd to our signs and messages,” parade participant Finley Rolls said. “So many people were clapping extra loud, or saying thank you for the work we do. It was really incredible to be a part of.” 


Of particular interest was a prismatic sign carried by researcher and educator Dr Andi Salamon, which reminded participants and observers that when it comes to social justice and real change, we need to ‘start with the babies’. 

“Many people dismiss babies in the policy space. Beyond their equal right to quality ECEC, thinking about our youngest citizens first from a policy perspective makes the most economic sense in terms of impact and presents a dynamic way of thinking for those in power,” Dr Salamon said. 


SJIEC is thankful to have been a part of the 2024 parade, and for the memories made for its members. 


Cat Sansome, SJIEC Board member summed it up by saying, “Events such as Mardi Gras are an invaluable way to share the message that early childhood education is at the forefront of communities, and is a foundational time in the lives of children and families. We are thankful to all the volunteers who put in so many hours of time, effort and energy to allow the parade to go ahead.” 


2024 is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the work of SJIEC. To further your learning, or to make an inquiry about joining SJIEC and expanding your advocacy please see here

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