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Romero Welcome Walk 2023 – a beacon of hope, generosity for asylum seekers and refugees

Participants entering the Welcome Walk from Davies Park in West End, Brisbane.

More than 170 people raised $20,000 in the third annual Romero Welcome Walk celebrated at West End on Sunday, 18 June.

Freshly brewed coffee greeted the early morning walkers, and the sun came out just in time to shine on the start of the event.

Romero Centre Head of Community and Corporate Relations, Richard Langford, said it was the best supported Welcome Walk so far with many people raising funds and buying artwork on display from Passions for Art artists.

Mercy Community team members and Romero supporters from businesses, schools, and volunteers, chose either 3km or 6km routes along the Brisbane River to raise the much needed funds to provide support services for refugees and asylum seekers.

The event began with a Welcome to Country and several passionate speeches from Mr Langford, the Gabba Ward Councillor, Trina Massey, and Romero Centre Case Coordinator, Deepa Manuel.

Ms Massey, who is an immigrant of Filipino and African American ethnicity, represents the Gabba Ward which is one of Brisbane’s youngest and most culturally diverse parts of the city.

Romero Centre Head of Community and Corporate Relations, Richard Langford, standing on a stage in front of the many participants for the Romero Welcome Walk for 2023.
Romero Centre Head of Community and Corporate Relations, Richard Langford, kicking off the Romero Welcome Walk for 2023.


She spoke of the importance of the walk being significant because Australia should be a welcoming country.

“We are here today together to support and in solidarity with people who are still in limbo. We have to deliver safety on our shores in Brisbane – we need to be completely funding this because refugees and asylum seekers bring so much to our country,” Ms Massey said.

Speaking on behalf of the whole Romero team, Ms Manuel thanked the walkers, those who gave financial support and the volunteers who supported the day.

She also thanked everyone who had spoken a few words of welcome to refugees and asylum seekers – words or even a smile which she said supported a sense of kindness, fraternity, security, trust, acceptance and happiness.

“Our presence here embodies those words,” she said.

Romero Centre Manager Mengistu Hailu said the event was an opportunity for the Romero Centre to increase community insight and bring all Romero supporters and volunteers together to see the good works Romero does.

“We saw people’s energy and passion to support people seeking asylum in Australia and received very good feedback so far from participant,” he said.

Mr Langford said the Romero Centre team hoped to build on the success of this year to have even greater support for next year’s event.

“It is so important that Romero receive these funds to continue to assist people in need. And it’s equally important that supporters and members of the public have the opportunity to express their support for people seeking asylum who have little or no income and often find themselves experiencing homelessness and destitution,” he said.

The Romero Centre holds a special place in Mercy Community’s heart. In the Spirit of the Sisters of Mercy we support dispossessed people who have been pushed to the very fringes of society.

The Romero Centre does this out of love and mercy without any government funding, but instead funded entirely through community donations.

Mercy Community through the Romero Centre supports people seeking asylum because we have a vision of Australia as a welcoming, kind, and compassionate country – a country that believes that ‘love has no borders’.

It’s something that all of us at Mercy Community are very proud of.

Donations can still be made to the Romero Centre by visiting their webpages here: Donate Now – Mercy Community Services – Romero Centre.

General media enquiries should be directed to media@mercycommunity.org.au.

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