On 26 October 2018, the Australian Multicultural Foundation visited the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District to develop a regional Anti Racism Action Plan. Participants included representatives of many local organisations involved in settlement actions.
At the centre of the 2017 Multicultural Policy Statement, Victorian. And Proud of It, is the Victorian Values Statement, a set of shared values that unify us as a peaceful and prosperous society.The third principle in the Victorian Values statement is
3. Discrimination is never acceptable
This principle expresses the following aspirations: We want to live in a society that promotes inclusion and participation and rejects exclusion and discrimination.
Therefore, an anti-racism action plan is needed for leadership, private and non-governmnet sectors, building respect and empathy through education, focusing on supporting and enabling children and young people, and empowering communities and individuals to act against racism.
What do we mean by racism?
In general, racism is a belief that a particular race or ethnicity is inferior or superior to others.
Racial discrimination involves any act where a person is treated unfavourably because of their race, nationality, colour, descent or ethnic origin.
Racism may take the form of stereotyping, name calling or insults, racist graffiti, property damage or abuse on the internet. Racism can also take the form of excluding people from accessing services, employment, education or sporting activities.
Prevalence in Victoria
- For many Victorians, racism and race-based discrimination is part of daily life.
- Despite the prevalence, reporting remains low.
- People can feel fear of speaking out about racism, whether that be fear for safety or for losing employment or services.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate that 18 per cent of Victorians experience racism. The Scanlon Foundation found that approximately 25 per cent of Australians fear or have a negative attitude towards Islam.
The Problem and vision for Victoria
The problem can be experienced in a number of ways, such as:
- in public spaces
- in workplaces
- through media representation, or
- within the structures and systems of our institutions.
- Experiences of racism and race-based discrimination differ depending on individual circumstance and identity.
Evidence of Harm
- Experiences of racism can significantly harm a person’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.
- Evidence also shows how racism can negatively impact a person’s capacity to participate in the community and economy.
Early initiatives: Responding to Islamophobia and Antisemitism
Examples of initiatives funded under the Islamophobia and Antisemitism Initiative include:
- Development of curriculum and workshops that enable bystanders to take a safe and active stance when observing incidents of Islamophobia and Antisemitism
- Development of curriculum and workshops for teachers, principals and other school leaders to develop their intercultural capabilities
- Development of a capture and reporting platform for incidents of Islamophobia
Regional anti-racism projects
The Australian Multicultural Foundation is coordinating an anti-racism project, facilitating the funding of community-based initiatives that respond to or prevent racism and racial discrimination in regional Victoria.
The Action Plan will explore how diverse communities experience racism and racial discrimination and the ways in which the Victorian Government can prevent and better respond to these experiences.
The Victorian Government wants to ensure that this Action Plan reflects the lived experiences of those most affected and also best practice methods to respond to racism and race-based discrimination.
Through the delivery of regional, community-based projects, the initiative aims to contribute to the following:
- Promotion of inclusion and the rejection of exclusion, racism and all forms of violence or discrimination
- Identification and response to local challenges to racism and race-based discrimination
- Prevention of experiences of racism and race-based discrimination
If You Need to take Action: Report Racism
Report Racism aims to create an environment where you can feel confident and safe to report any cases of racism you experience or witness (including racial discrimination and vilification).
Report Racism is a third party reporting initiative which means that people can report racism online or at a local community organisation as well as directly to Victoria Police or the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
We are trialling this initiative with the Aboriginal community. The Commission has partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Victoria Police. Report Racism is being trialled in two locations – Northern Melbourne (City of Yarra, Darebin and Whittlesea) and Shepparton. The Northern Melbourne scheme started on 21 August 2014. The Shepparton trial will commence later in 2014. It is expected that the trial will go for 6-12 months depending on take-up and response. The pilot will help us identify problems with the initiative and make improvements.
– click for Report Racism Website