Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Heart of STAR 1998 - Concetta Perôt

In celebration of STAR’s 25th birthday, we took the time to reconnect and share the stories of the people who made it possible for STAR to be where it is today. These are The Hearts of STAR, these are the change-makers, who through the decades strived to positively impact the lives of refugees and create a welcoming society in the UK and we are proud to share their stories with you on this Refugee Week 2020.

Concetta Perôt

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1998 – 2001
Chair of Trustees of STAR
Current job: Psychotherapist and an activist-researcher in the field of trauma and mental health

How and why did you get involved in STAR?

Elly, the founder, and I worked together and I was impacted by her passion and the power of the work that STAR was doing. I wanted to support her and do what I could to help STAR grow into a solid, sustainable organisation.

What impact did you see STAR have on your community:

a. At university
At the annual conferences, I saw students envisioned by a culture of social justice and equality as well as equipped for practical activism. Truly inspiring.

b. Locally
Many years after I left the national committee, I worked with the local STAR group at St. George’s Medical school (in my capacity as a mosaic artist) to run a community arts project and exhibition. I loved the interactions with both the medical students and the refugee community, and the connections this project brought about.

What is your favourite thing about STAR?

The fact that it shapes the mindsets of people as they launch into their careers and creates empathy, welcome, solidarity, and action with refugees – needed now more than ever.

What impact did STAR have on your life or on what you do now?

Being involved in helping STAR grow proved to me that individuals and small groups of compassionate and active people can and do make a positive difference in society – in fact, this is the engine room of social change. Meeting Helen Bamber at one of the annual conferences contributed to my path in seeking to understand and respond to trauma – an area I work a lot with as a psychotherapist.

What message would you like to give the current STAR students?

In your activism and desire to make a difference, always be relational and committed to real dialogue, listening, and learning with an open heart.

Posted by STAR team on 17/06/2020 at 05:28 PM