Last weekend, an extraordinary number of Victorians of all backgrounds took to the streets of Melbourne to protest against racism and the shocking number of First Nations People who have died in custody since 1991.
The #BlackLivesMatter protest highlighted the entrenched racism associated with these injustices and demonstrated that Victorians not only care, they want social change.
Multicultural community leaders who participated in the protest have told us we’re not doing enough to address racism. And we agree.
As an organisation focused on championing diversity and inclusion across Victoria, equality and respect for all peoples and cultures lies at the heart of everything we do. We acknowledge the past and ongoing injustices against First Nations People. We understand that silence is not an option and we know our role has never been more important or relevant.
We unequivocally condemn all forms of racism, vilification or discrimination directed at someone because of their colour, ethnicity, faith or national origin.
We accept that meaningful change will not happen if action is only taken by First Nations People and people of colour. Addressing systemic racism will only happen when all of us come together in solidarity and move from being passive and neutral to becoming actively anti-racist.
We recognise that we need to step up to address racism on behalf of multicultural Victoria as a conduit between multicultural communities and the government.
We recognise that this nation’s future is bound in true reconciliation, and if we are to address racism, we need to start by listening to the truth about our history and addressing the manifestation of these deep injustices.
Last week during Reconciliation Week, we made a commitment to building our knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and history, and to creating and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal Victorians that are based on truth and mutual respect. Importantly, we made a commitment to listening and learning. (Read our full statement.)
We hosted a forum where we had an open and honest conversation about why reconciliation matters and why we must all recognise the injustices of the past and work together to support reconciliation and Victoria’s journey to Treaty. (View the recording of the .)
The overwhelming response we received during and after the forum showed us that multicultural communities want to play a role in creating a fully equitable, just and reconciled nation. We therefore commit to creating opportunities for multicultural communities to listen and learn about the truth of our nation’s history.
And centred around this starting point of truth, we commit to playing a leading role in tackling racism in Victoria and mobilising multicultural communities to join us.
We call for solidarity between all Victorians to fight racism and create an equitable future.
The Commission will be issuing a statement outlining our position on racism shortly.
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Reviewed 23 June 2021