Like you, we have felt the heaviness in our hearts over what is happening in the US.
But how can we as Australians speak out about what’s happening overseas, then turn a blind eye to what happens to Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and PoC on our own soil?
There have been 400+ Aboriginal deaths in custody in Australia since 1991. The same year the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody ended. A 2018 survey by SBS with the Western Sydney University found that one in five Australians had experienced racism in a 12 month period.
Silence makes you complicit, and today we are standing in solidarity with the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and all PoC communities. We pledge to do better than we have in the past; to do better on visibility, the talent we cast, the people we hire, the stories we share. The way we think, talk, and do. We promise to champion an anti-racist and inclusive Australia.
Prudence Melom is an award winning humanitarian and founder of E-Raced, a non-government organisation that aims to tackle racism head-on by building connections between people of diverse multi-cultural backgrounds
She is a former refugee who moved from Chad to Australia in 2007 without being able to speak a word of English.
We sat down with Prudence to chat E-Raced and their mission to erase racism.
Tell us about E-raced…
E-raced is a non for profit organisation based in Toowoomba and also a branch in Mt Gambier. It is pretty much a group of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds who get trained in public speaking and once they’re ready and confident we all get in a car and head out on an anti-racism road trip. With the road trips we talk to young people in schools, mostly in regional rural areas and we share with them our stories, our experiences and we use storytelling to combat racism in Australia.
What are some small things people can do to continue E-raced movement?
Speak up. At E-raced our main focus is racism, I believe that nobody is born racist, racism is behaviours that are picked up along the way, learnt from parents or grandparents conversations and I just think that we can challenge these negative attitudes by educating young people. So by speaking up if you see somebody who is being racially abusive or saying things that they shouldn’t be saying or if you personally are being abused, just speak up and say no – racism it stops with me. Also go out there, make friends, smile, be nice to people because at the end of the day behind every person there is a great story and until you talk to that person and get to know them you’d be surprised to see what their journey has been like. I believe other there peoples stories and experiences can help you to become a better person.
How do you see your mark being made?
I think the most rewarding elements of my work is seeing young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds have a platform to have a voice, to share their opinions, share their stories and also to see young people in regional, rural and city areas hear the stories and have the stories impact and influence them. Even my story, I came here as a refugee and couldn’t speak a single word of English and I’ve been able to start an organisation, do the things that I love and find fun and also use my platform to give opportunities to other young people. I think my story shows that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and if you’re passionate about your work. I want everyone to see that they too can do this.
How do you stay positive every day?
I look after myself everyday by listening to good music that puts me in a good vibe/mood. Sometimes my day to day schedule can be busy and stressful but I always remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing and I’m always grateful for where I am and I always believe there more to come. I try to surround myself with people who care about me – my family and my friends. I’m at a place now where I’m confident and comfortable with who I am and I’m comfortable in my skin, my crazy hairstyles this helps me try to always stay positive and keep my mental health in check.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
In the next couple of years I would like to see e-raced flourish and keep growing. Hopefully we will come down to Melbourne; I think there is a great need for our work here. I mean who knows you may have to vote for me to be the next prime minister, the sky’s the limit.
What does a better tomorrow look like for you?
A better tomorrow for me is for everyone regardless of their gender, race and religion to live out their dreams without fear of discrimination.
How have you been keeping motivated during this time?
I’ve been staying connected with family and friends through social media, exercising, doing a lot of self care and meditation.
You can follow Prudence on Instagram, here.
If you are someone who experiences privileges based purely on the colour of your skin, we encourage you to take this moment to reflect and educate yourself on how you can actively help make a change in our community.