Challenging racism in Melbourne’s East

Whitehorse News - July 2022

When it comes to stamping out racism, it is important to listen and learn from those in our diverse community who have experienced it firsthand.

Amplifying Community Voices in the East (ACVE) is a project supporting five leaders from the local Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community to become ambassadors against racism.

The initiative will be led by the Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) in partnership with Indiancare, the Centre for Holistic Health and The Communities’ Council on Ethnic Issues. The community leaders will participate in workshops that focus on challenging racism and sharing their voices and experiences of racial discrimination. They will also develop a video to educate community members on how to identify and report incidents of racial or religious vilification.

ACVE will work closely with migrants and refugees to educate and share stories about racism and what can be done to support community members from diverse cultural and faith backgrounds.

Dr Chris Mallika Bhadra, one of the project participants, believes this project is an opportunity to raise the issue of racism for those who may not otherwise have a voice.

“I want to create a platform for people who can’t speak for themselves. Racism is a big issue. If I can help amplify the voice of even one person, I feel something is accomplished.”

The final stage of the project will see the group speaking to the media, local MPs and workplaces, sharing lived experiences of racial discrimination to inspire systemic change.

ECLC CEO Michael Smith believes the project will equip leaders with the tools to empower others to challenge racism in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

“These leaders are experts on their community and their experiences of racism. Rather than speaking for them, we’re working together to amplify their own voices and influence positive change."

“The project builds on the close connections and trust that ECLC has built with diverse cultural and faith communities over many years.”

Banner image

Back row: ECLC CEO Michael Smith, ECLC Director of Partnership and Community Engagement Donna Askew and ECLC ACVE Project Coordinator Capella Henderson
Front row: Communities Council on Ethnic Issues Community Representative Saarah Ozeer, Centre for Holistic Health Service Coordinator Ada Poon, Communities Council on Ethnic Issues Community Representative Dilnaz Billimoria, Indiancare Manager Dr Jyothsna Rao.