Posts for the Ethno Cultural Officers
Swapnik Sanagavarapu, Himath Siriniwasa and Ellie Wilson
The massacre that took place in Christchurch a few weeks ago was a despicable instance of Islamophobic violence. The Autonomous Collective Against Racism stands with Muslim communities both on campus and worldwide. We held a vigil on Monday 18 March to pay respects, and hosted a campus speakout alongside Unite Against the Far Right on Tuesday 19 March to speak out against ongoing Islamophobia and rising white supremacy. ACAR convenors Swapnik Sanagavarapu and Himath Siriniwasa, along with Sexual Harassment Officer and Wom*n’s Collective convenor Layla Mkh and Mature Age Student Officer Vinil Kumar, gave speeches at the speakout.
ACAR has sent contingents to a number of rallies in the last few weeks, and held working bees to make banners and signs for events. Some of the events that we’ve attended in the last two weeks have been the Protest Israeli Apartheid on Palestinian Land Day rally and WoCo’s counter-protest against the Day of the Unborn Child, the latter of which Ethnocultural Officer and ACAR convenor Ellie Wilson spoke at. We’ve organised a contingent and a working bee for Palm Sunday, which is Sunday 14 April, and intend to promote the rally by working with the Campus Refugee Action Collective.
Planning for our autonomous edition of Honi Soit is underway. We’ve established an editorial collective and are currently processing expressions of interest, of which we had a significant number. We hope to get content creation underway over the next week.
PoC Revue is this week from 11-13 April! Tickets are being sold online and in person. A number of ACAR members are involved in the show this year, and ACAR intends to attend the show together.
ACAR has now had four collective meetings, and the number of people engaged in the collective is growing. We intend to have weekly meetings moving forward, which we’ll organise online, so like our Facebook page (Sydney Uni Autonomous Collective Against Racism) and join our Facebook group (ACAR: Autonomous Collective Against Racism) if you’re a PoC to get involved! We’re excited to see how much more active the collective will become over the next year.
Autonomous Collective Against Racism
Swapnik Sanagavarapu, Ellie Wilson, Himath Siriniwasa and Mahek Rawal
The Autonomous Collective Against Racism is receiving a total rebrand this year, as we hope to turn the traditionally inactive collective into a powerful force for student activism. This year, ACAR will have a specifically anti-colonial focus, as we will work to organise around issues of Aboriginal justice in collaboration with FIRE, ISJA and Anticolonial Asian Alliance. The anti-racist focus of the collective will still maintain primacy in our on-campus organising, especially in relation to fighting the scourge of fascism and Islamophobia.
In light of this rebrand, ACAR has been quite successful at rebooting the collective. During Welcome Week last month, we recruited over 40 new members of the collective. In coming weeks, many of these new recruits will feature alongside familiar faces in the autonomous edition of Honi. We also had our first meeting of the year, where we established our aims for the rest of 2019 and collectively agreed that anti colonial struggle should be the focus of our activism this year. Follow us on Instagram at @usydacar and like our Facebook page to keep up to date with what we are doing.
Tanushri Saha, Nischeta Velu, Tanya Ali and Geneve Bullo
The last few weeks saw all our creative efforts, energy and focus being dedicated towards creating a beautiful yet stimulating edition of this year’s ACAR Honi. A shout out to all the talented writers and artists who contributed, and to the editors who bought the whole thing to life. The launch party for 2018 ACAR Honi was a huge success, and it was warming to witness performances as diverse as poetry, music and comedy. A perfect culmination of everything ACAR stands for, bringing people together to celebrate the success. Taking over Hermann’s bar and turning the stage into a perfect backdrop embellished with artworks, this event reminded us of the richness of our diverse experiences, and the importance of having such spaces to chat, laugh and feel warm in the presence of other people of colour. Overall each of us couldn’t have hoped for a better week, or better people to have celebrated it with.
Maddy Ward, Radha Wahyuwidayat and Sophia Chung
Hello and good day. We are mad. Very mad. The ethnocultural space, gifted to us by our Union overlords, has been vandalised, disrespected and stolen from a number of times. Most recently, someone tore up a beautiful poster drawn by a collective member and threw it in the bin. We elaborately reconstructed it with sticky tape and fury, so suck on that racists. We’ve found empty Heineken bottles, mess and white people in the space on a number of occasions- most recently an OB had to boot two of the latter out of the space at once, one who was playing dungeon and dragons and the other watching ultimate frisbee. Also, stop stealing our furniture. Who the fuck steals a futon?
On a lighter note: we’ve got some real fun shit coming up. We have a poetry and dance night for verge festival, which is currently seeking performers! If you’re a poc and you dig poetry and dancing please sign up. We’re also releasing a cookbook! Submissions for recipes and family stories close in late week six. You should submit if you like food and hate socialist alternative, who think cookbooks aren’t real activism. Why miss out on a good opportunity to piss off the trots? Submit recipes, enquiries, and nominations for the variety night to email@example.com
As much as we joke about it, we would really love for people to stop fucking with the Ethnocultural space. This rarely happens to the women’s and queer rooms- we should be treated with the same respect. We get you’re jealous of our lush furnishings and sweet views but honestly you can occupy literally anywhere else on campus. Also, give us back our futon.
Yours in love and rage,
Madeline, Sophia and Radha
Sophia Chung, Maddy Ward and Radha Wahyuwidayat
ACAR had a great O-Week! We exhausted all of our shirts, hand-designed by collective members, and had a 200% increase in sign ups since last year. We also put SRC money to good use on a bar tab and pizza for new collective members at Ethno-Cultural Drinks. Aren’t you glad we’re putting your student money to good use! Additionally, only one white person attempted to join the collective, which in our opinion is a monumental step on the journey to post-racialism. We also gave out a number of preliminary surveys on curriculum whiteness, and now plans are underway to launch specialized surveys in various departments by the end of semester one. ACAR revue has officially gone rogue and become PoC revue (this is so that we can drain the funds of two student unions) Auditions are running until the end of this week so get in fast! It’s a fun way to get involved, meet new people and incite the revolution. Speaking of revolution, our autonomous edition of Honi Soit will be released in Week 11 of this semester – this means that we will have an entire paper dedicated to the voices of PoC. We’re opening pitches until the end of week 4 so you have plenty of time to cook up some groovy ideas in those beautiful ethnic noggins.
Aparna Balakumar, Lamya Rahman, Una Madura Verde, Adam Ursino
2016 has flown by, and it’s hard to believe that this is our last report for the year! We’d like to thank everybody who’s been involved in the Autonomous Collective Against Racism this year, whether it be in the form of popping by our OWeek stall and picking up a badge, getting involved in ACAR Revue (or even just seeing the show), coming along to the Black Lives Matter rally with members of the collective, posting in our Facebook group, performing in our Verge Festival event last week, attending or speaking at the SUDS/ACAR panel discussion, writing in the brilliant ACAR edition of Honi Soit that came out last week, or any of the other events or initiatives we’ve held throughout the year. 2016 has been a big year for ACAR, and it’s been a privilege to end the year by releasing ACAR Honi. Last week’s edition was brought to you entirely by writers, artists, and designers of colour, and we hope you thoroughly enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Also last week, we held our Verge Festival event “Rehearsals for Life”. We’d like to thank all the talented dancers, musicians, poets, writers, and comedians who contributed to the celebratory and heartwarming night. The end of the year is fast approaching, but we’re not done yet: next Wednesday at 4pm is also the launch of the USU Ethnocultural Space, a room on campus available to those self identifying as an ethnocultural minority. Previously the Loggia Room, this room will now be used as a meeting room, social room, and relaxation space for all ethnocultural students and members of ACAR. We also welcome our 2017 Office Bearers: Maddy Ward, Radha Wahyuwidayat and Sophia Chung. We’re sad our time is over however we’re certain that the incoming OBs will continue to build on our successes and learn from our failures in order to transform ACAR into an even better collective in the year ahead.
Aparna Balakumar, Elizabeth Mora, Lamya Rahman, & Adam Ursino
It’s been a busy year so far for the Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) and things are only about to get busier. Following on from the success of our events last semester, such as ACAR revue and our collaboration with SUDS, this semester ACAR intends to further solidify our campus presence with the launch of the Ethno-cultural Space sometime in early September. The room, located in Manning and provided by the USU, is open to all ethno-cultural students on campus and is expected to be not only a place where ethno-cultural clubs, societies and collectives can freely run meetings and workshops, but also just a nice, safe, and autonomous space for ethno-cultural students to meet and hang out on campus. ACAR plans to take advantage of this great space as much as possible, with regular monthly collective meetings anticipated following the launch.
Additionally with semester two comes two big projects on ACAR’s creative agenda. The first is ACAR Honi, where for one week ACAR will take over the student newspaper, giving people of colour the chance to edit, produce, contribute, design, and write for an issue that amplifies and centre issues of race on campus and beyond. Since its first edition in 2014, ACAR Honi has given writers and designers of colour the rare opportunity to forefront their voices in student media, and this year we plan to go even bigger and better.
Second on the calendar is a first for ACAR – a performance show called Rehearsals for Life, running in conjunction with the USU’s Verge Festival. The theme of the show is expected to loosely cover the topics of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, maturity, death/silence all from the unique perspectives of performers of colour. Each performer will give their take on the theme through different mediums including but not limiting to music, poetry, acting, and singing. ACAR is optimistic about our first ever performance show and excited for its first time run as it fills a creative gap not covered by ACAR Honi – we encourage all student performers coming from an ethno-cultural background to apply.
Both projects are expected to launch on the same night – October 13th.
To find out how you can get involved in ACAR please join our Facebook group, ‘Autonomous Collective Against Racism’ searchable in the main University of Sydney group or like our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/usydacar
With love and rage,
Your 2016 OBs,
Lamya Rahman, Adam Torres, Una Madura Verde, and Aparna Balakumar
Aparna Balakumar, Elizabeth Mora, Lamya Rahman, & Adam Ursino
Hi everyone! We have had a very busy semester break and an exciting start to this semester.
Last Monday, ACAR collaborated with the Philosophy department to organise and deliver a series of talks about damaging imaginaries that intersect experiences including feminism, race and governmentality. The event was a great success and well received by both collective members and the student community in general.
During the winter holidays, two office bearers – Adam Ursino and Lamya Rahman – attended the first ever national ethnocultural conference at the University of Melbourne. We’d like to thank Betty Belay, NUS’s Ethnocultural Officer for organising the conference.
The conference alerted us to the fact that the SRC’s Ethnocultural Department is one of only eight equivalent departments or collectives within the student organisations of Australian universities.
This functions as an inspiring reminder that USyd, in terms of ethnocultural representation, inhabits a space of relative privilege. It’s important for us to use the resources available to us, and our attempts to do that man that we have a very busy semester ahead of us!
Towards the end of semester, we’ll be producing an ACAR edition of Honi Soit, showcasing diverse and traditionally marginalised voices on campus.
While there have been some delays in our communication with the USU, we are in the process of attaining an ethnocultural space! We will continue updating you in the coming weeks, and look forward to holding meetings and other events regularly.
If you’d like to keep up to date with what the collective will be up to this semester, feel free to like our Facebook page (facebook.com/usydacar) or join the ACAR group (facebook.com/groups/168430210190760). Please note that to join the group, you must first be a member of the University of Sydney group.
We hope you have a brilliant start to semester!
Students' Representative Council, University of Sydney
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