01 Mar Asian Australian Alliance seeking greater change and representation
Story by Tiffany Fung
Established in 2013, the Asian Australian Alliance provides a voice for those who are silenced within the Asian community, and challenges policies that prevent them from being seen or heard.
As part of their purpose, the organisation advocates for grassroots level issues that are common among different Asian communities in Australia and provides support in more ways than one.
Victorian Convener for the Asian Australian Alliance Molina Asthana said that it is important to see more Asians in areas such as politics, journalism and sports because of their marginalised status.
We want to create greater diversity and more opportunities for Asians in mainstream communities.
Born in India, Molina moved to Australia in 2004 and has understood what it means to be Asian-Australian in today’s conflicted world.
“There’s two kinds of Asian-Australians. One who are born in Australia and one that has migrated here in the last ten or fifteen years or so,” Molina explained.
“People born here identify more as Australians, yet sometimes struggle to understand that reality of whether they’re Australian or Asian, so they don’t identify with their culture.
“But for me, my cultural identity is very much Indian, so being Asian is important to me.
I want to retain my cultural heritage but still balance out both my identities and make the most of it.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2017, China is the second largest group of residents born overseas, making up 2.5% of Australia’s population, followed by India (2.2%), the Philippines (1.1%) and Vietnam (1.0%).
This drives a need for organisations like the Asian Australian Alliance to help minorities understand and retain their cultural heritage when they are settling in a different country or struggling with their identity.
“We need to have a collective voice, otherwise as an individuals, they won’t stand up for their rights,” she said.
“That’s why this organisation is constantly trying to take causes to politicians and to corporates so that there’s more chances that you will be heard and those issues will be addressed.”
The Asian Australian Alliance hopes to allow for action to take place for Asian women and men in Australia who face barriers to be represented and to finally belong in a community for them.