The Wanderers are celebrating Harmony Day and with links with both the region and football this event touches everyone involved with the Club.
The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers celebrate Harmony Day when they play Perth Glory on Sunday 23 March with kick-off at 5pm.
Harmony Day is extremely important to the Club and the community it represents.
The event calls for cultural respect for everyone fwho calls Australia home - from the traditional owners of this land to those who have come from many countries around the world - the same values shared by the Wanderers.
Since the Club-s conception it has strived to be a club for the people of Western Sydney; a region which has five of the top six local government areas for percentage of population with a non-English speaking nation as their country of origin.
Ever since the Australian Government-s “Populate or Perish” program post World War II saw a mass influx of Migrants from Europe, the history of Western Sydney has been dominated and shaped by multiculturalism and migration making the Western Sydney Wanderers and Harmony Day a perfect fit.
And while the Populate or Perish program saw a number of European migrants, who went on to set-up Western Sydney-s former National Soccer League clubs, and continued immigration has seen Asian communities flourish, there is a new wave that has begun with many refugees now calling Western Sydney home.
While coming from countries from all across the world, Iran, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and Bhutan have the highest rates of refugees in Australia with families from these nations now settling into the Western suburbs.
Football has an amazing ability to bring people and communities together. In many cases people from different cultural backgrounds may not be able to speak to each other via spoken language but they can still communicate through football.
It is through football that the Wanderers have been able to connect on a number of levels with the Western Sydney region, none more so than programs such as the University of Western Sydney Wander Act.
The University of Western Sydney Wander Act sees, in part, a pathway program to help students in need discover direction in school & life as well as other initiatives which are aimed at aiding football in schools with high refugee intakes and also eliminating the effects of bullying in schools.
The Wanderers ethos of being raw and real, respectful to all people and to not be negative or harmful in actions, attitudes or words goes hand-in-hand with Harmony Day-s objectives of encouraging the community to rejoice and respect one-another and different cultures.
In every aspect of the Club, the Wanderers are a multicultural organisation promoting respect and positive behaviour.
The Wanderers supporter base is one of the most culturally diverse fan groups in the country. Coming from all walks of life and all corners of the globe, Western Sydney is regarded as Australia-s ‘Multicultural Hub- and has an ever increasing spread of culture migrating to it.
Harmony Day is important to the region to celebrate their different cultures and in the same way it is important to everyone involved at the Western Sydney Wanderers, no matter what their level of involvement.
With over 20 cultural backgrounds represented in the Hyundai A-League playing group this season - and even more amongst staff and volunteers - respect and celebration of heritage is a day-to-day occurrence at the Wanderers; just as it is in Western Sydney as a whole.
For today-s celebration Wanderers will be inviting 240 representatives from a variety of communities of Sydney-s West to rejoice in Australia-s cultural diversity through football.
It is not only the multiculturalism of Western Sydney that links Harmony Day to the Wanderers but it is a characteristic of football as a whole, and it is this unique link to the sport of football as well as the entire Western Sydney area that makes the Wanderers the most multicultural sporting club in Australia.
Embracing and recognising these factors in the mentality and structure of the club is such a critical part of the existence of the Red and Black and allows for true community engagement.
To kick-off the day-s activities the 240 Red and Black representatives from the vast Western Sydney region will feature in a special ‘Harmony Day World Cup- where every individual is encouraged to respect and rejoice one another's background and beliefs while uniting through their love of the world game.
Inside Pirtek Stadium our Harmony Day activities will continue with a special performance from girl-group Elem5nt prior to kick-off as well as a flag walk giving children the chance to bear their heritage proudly.
The celebrations then carry into half-time with children from a variety of cultures featuring in our traditional half-time small sided games and skills activities.