Campaign calls on bystanders to combat racism

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The City of Hobart has launched a new anti-racism campaign, building on the earlier campaign to support migrants, immigrants and refugees, Hobart Welcomes All.

The new message, Hobart Respects All, is particularly timely given anecdotal evidence of a rise of racist sentiment in the city, in part driven by misinformation and fear.

“It’s important to take these issues seriously,” said Councillor Zelinda Sherlock, who will officially launch the campaign today. “We should all consider the kind of place we want Hobart to be and each play our part in achieving that goal.

“I’m personally aware of many situations recently where members of the community have felt singled out and unsafe because of damaging words and actions. We can’t accept this as normal or just hope the problem goes away by itself.”

The campaign is about empowering bystanders to support anyone who is being targeted by racism, whether in overt or more subtle ways, with the understanding that it’s everyone’s responsibility to help make the community more inclusive and respectful.

Background

In 2019 the City of Hobart became a signatory to the Welcoming Cities network. This is a national network of local governments who are committed to an Australia where everyone can belong and participate in social, cultural, economic and civic life.

As a Welcoming City, the City of Hobart strongly believes that migrants, refugees and international students should feel that they are valued and welcomed here. As such, feedback from multicultural communities that racism is on the rise cannot be ignored. It is well known that racism has serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of those who experience it, as well as negative impacts on the community as a whole.

Hobart Respects All messages

To be seen on buses, banners, bags and stickers around town, the key message is Hobart Respects All as a call to action to stand against racist behaviour. Practical measures are outlined as follows:

As a bystander, you can send a clear message that racist behaviour is not okay. Depending on the situation, there are lots of ways to help.

Be there

Speak to, sit or stand next to the person being harassed to show you support them. You do not have to respond directly to the perpetrator, if that feels safer.

Report it

You can report racism or discrimination, wherever it happens, to Equal Opportunity Tasmania via their website.

If you’re travelling on public transport, call on the driver to assist.

If the situation feels threatening, call for police assistance on 131444. In life threatening or emergency situations call 000.

If you wish to remain anonymous you can alternatively call Crime Stoppers Tasmania on 1800 333 000 in non-emergency situations.

Call it out

If you feel it won’t endanger you, tell the person who is being racist that they’re out of line. Sometimes they’ll back off. Or perhaps they’ll reflect on what you’ve said later.

Use your power

If you take action, others may too. You’ll never know how much your intervention could mean to someone who’s being harassed.

Your contribution matters.

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