Anti-Racism Strategy empowering communities to take action

Anti-Racism Strategy empowering communities to take action

As one of his final official acts of business as the Australian Human Rights Commission‘s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane presented the report on the activities from the last three years (2015-18) of the national Anti-Racism Strategy.

Launched in 2012 by previous commissioner Dr Helen Szoke, the strategy aims to raise awareness of racism and its effects, promote initiatives across all sectors of society, and encourage communities to stand-up to and prevent discrimination.

We’ve done important work in early childhood, delivering resources to early childhood educators and parents about how to talk about diversity and race.

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“We’ve done project work in the area of youth anti-racism advocacy, as well as in institutional racism with government officials and public servants on our Racism. It Stops with Me. campaign,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

“We’ve also got more than 370 organisations involved as supporters of the campaign, and late last year we delivered a number of videos, including some community service announcements, which shone light on everyday and casual forms of racism.”

Photo credit: Australian Human Rights Commission

The Racism. It Stops with Me. campaign has so far seen great success, with the videos reaching 1.6 millions views on social media, and were also broadcast nation-wide on the ABC, SBS and Channel Ten.

Watch one of the videos produced by the Australian Human Rights Commission below:

For all the successes of the strategy, Dr Soutphommasane said there are still areas in the Anti-Racism Strategy that require focus and improvement, and he hopes his successor will continue to build upon the results of the report.

“We’ve got to be unapologetic about naming racism,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

“All too often we skirt around talking about racism and avoid calling it out for what it is.

We also need to deal with the causes and not just the symptoms when it comes to racism; it doesn’t just come from hate or fear, it comes from ignorance, arrogance and privilege as well.

“If we are to challenge racism, it’s not enough to just focus on the nasty, overt acts of bigotry we might see from time to time, but also the more subtle, insidious and everyday structural and institutional forms of discrimination.”

Photo credit: Australian Human Rights Commission

In closing, Dr Soutphommasane said he hopes to continue participating in conversation and debate, social change and progress.

Check out the Australian Human Rights Commission’s website HERE.

Anisha Mistry

As the Editor of CulturalPulse, Anisha is passionate about listening to, writing and sharing stories of Australia's multicultural achievement. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]