Call to break discrimination barrier

Robert Masters & Associates

– 60% see racism as a ‘big problem’ –

Courage to Care Vic is calling for Australians to break the alarming rise in discrimination in the community and for people of all ages to ‘stand up’ against it.

The not-for-profit charity made the announcement today in celebrating its 30th anniversary of educating and empowering communities, including students, across Victoria to stand up against racism and discrimination by being ‘Upstanders’, not ‘Bystanders’.

A two-week series of community, education and schools’ activities will take place from 24 May across the State to promote the initiative.

Courage to Care CEO Mike Zervos said today the ‘call’ was a critical step forward in changing the ‘discrimination tag’ that is hanging over the nation where 88 percent of Australians recognised the need to address racism and intolerance in the community.

He highlighted that the charity was seeking to create a generation of ‘Upstanders’ rather than ‘Bystanders’ by working with school students across Victoria in understanding discrimination and racism, the history behind the issues and the actions that can be done that can change lives and communities.

“This action should not be confined to young people but expanded throughout the whole of the community and taken up by people of all ages,” he added.

Mr Zervos said that research by the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute – which monitors changes in social attitudes in Australia – reported that by the end of last year more than 60 percent of Australians believed that racism in Australia was either a ‘very big or fairly big problem’; rising from 40 percent in 2020.

The Asian Australian Alliance had also reported that they had received more than 500 reports of racist incidents against Asian Australians in the past year and the Community Security Groups across Australia have highlighted that 490 antisemitic incidents in Australia took place in 2021, a 38 percent increase over 2020 and the highest on record.

Gandel Foundation’s first national survey of Holocaust knowledge also reported almost a quarter (24%) of adult Australians had little to no knowledge of the Holocaust, and that the number had risen to 30% among Millennials.

Mr. Zervos said that a series of free public events to celebrate its 30th anniversary will be held at the ARK Centre in Hawthorn between Tuesday 24 May and Thursday 2 June 2022.

This includes educational and empowering guided tours of the Courage to Care Exhibition showcasing Upstanders throughout history, and a series of Community Upstander Programs for community leaders as structured, interactive workshops. These will be open to anyone who wants to learn to be Upstanders against racism and discrimination in their communities.

An educational breakfast panel event will also be hosted by Dr Susan Carland, of Monash University, an expert panel to generate ideas and collaborate for proactive community and structural responses to discrimination. Bookings essential.

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