You may have noticed some new signs throughout Manningham.
These signs are part of a project to help to address racism. It’s called the #RacismNotWelcome initiative.
What is the #RacismNotWelcome initiative?
#RacismNotWelcome is a community-led initiative to:
- acknowledge the existence of racism
- provide a safe platform for people to speak out
- normalise conversations about racism
- and spark change within the community to stop racism from happening.
Why are we involved?
We are very proud of our community and how respectful we are to one another. However, we know that racism does exist in Manningham - as it does everywhere.
How do we know? We’ve heard from members of our multicultural communities who have been impacted by it.
Manningham Council has joined the campaign because:
- Manningham is a very multicultural municipality – about half of us were born overseas or had one or more parents born overseas.
- When racial tensions develop, they don't just affect one or two of us - they affect us all as neighbours, workmates, friends and fellow Australians.
- Studies have found that people experiencing racism can suffer from poor mental health and, to a lesser extent, poor physical health (VicHealth 2021)
- The Manningham Healthy City Strategy identifies reducing racism as an important action in the Reduced injury and harm category.
- To help put an end to racism, everyone must take an active role, no matter who they are, including local councils.
- The campaign provides us as a community, an opportunity to send a strong message that racism is NOT welcome in Manningham or anywhere else.
Are other Councils involved?
Yes. The campaign was developed by the Inner West Multicultural Network in Sydney. We are the eleventh local government area in Australian to join the campaign.
Where are the signs?
We have installed 30 street signs. The street signs are located in popular areas, to maximise the number of people engaging with the message. We provided the opportunity for the community to tell us what they thought about the locations in April 2022.
They are at sites like shopping centres, sports clubs, community venues and council buildings.
They are not installed in locations where people have experienced racism necessarily, but rather where many people will see them.
A budget of $6,000 was allocated to this initiative.
What else are we doing to address racism?
This initiative is just one of the activities we are doing to address racism. Other activities include:
Manningham Council has endorsed using the Welcoming City framework that supports local governments to advance communities where everyone can belong, and participate in social, cultural, economic and civic life.
Welcoming Cities provides a framework to address barriers to participation and practical tools on how to address them. Welcoming Cities is part of a growing network of more than 250 municipalities around the world.
Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-2025
Manningham Reconciliation Action Plan maps out what actions we are going to take to work alongside First Nations peoples to advance reconciliation in our workplace and across the Manningham municipality.
One category in the RAP covers Race Relations –
All Australians understand and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous cultures, rights and experiences, which results in stronger relationships that are based on trust and respect and free of racism.
Manningham Multicultural Advisory Committee
In June of 2021, we established a Multicultural Communities Advisory Committee to advise council on items of importance to the multicultural communities.
This advisory committee provides advice on how to ensure policies, programs and services are addressing barriers to participation that face people from multicultural communities in Manningham. This includes racism.
Manningham Multicultural Network and Strength through Connection forums
The Strength through Connection forums in 2021 were online forums to deliberately build stronger relationships between multicultural community leaders and Council.
Areas of importance were identified by the participants from multicultural communities. These areas included health, safety and racism, access to employment and education, and community engagement.
From that forum grew the Manningham Multicultural Network that exists to share information interculturally and with Council.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination event
Each year, we acknowledge this international day on Tuesday 21 March to work towards stamping out racism.
Welcome events for International Students
Together with Boroondara and Whitehorse Councils, we are hosting three municipality based Welcome events per year to welcome international students to Melbourne’s East. After a well-documented rise in racism often targeting international students, these events aim to link international students into their immediate communities and services.
Supporting people from the community when they make contact to report racism
Many people from overseas from oppressive regimes may feel uncomfortable going to the police if impacted by racism in the community. Local government can be seen as a viable option if this is the case.
We are working with our customer service team to train them in how to support people in this situation.
Where to report racism and find support
Have you or has someone you know experienced racism or religious discrimination?
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission have a range of support resources and tools you can access. Visit Human Rights for more information.
If you have experienced racism or if you have any other human rights issues or concerns, use the Community Reporting Tool to make a report.
If the matter is urgent and you are in danger, please call Victoria Police on 000.
We can help
If you need support to report racism, or to discuss your options, you can contact the Social Planning and Community Strengthening team at Manningham Council on 9840 9398 or email email@example.com.