Posts for the Ethno Cultural Officers

ACAR Report – O-week 2016

Hi there! The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) is a space for people of colour, Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islander persons, those from ethnocultural backgrounds, or those marginalised by white supremacy.

As your 2016 ACAR Office Bearers, we’re here to be a point of contact between students and the SRC. Our goal is to represent the voice, greater interest, and desires of the students in our Collective. We’re also here to offer general advice and support to students and groups on campus regarding race, racism, and white privilege.

And, yes, we have a crazy exciting year planned in 2016!

From social gatherings, workshops, activism, festivals, film screenings, and creative opportunities, we are committed to fostering an inclusive space on campus and online where students can come together to meet other like minded-people, while dismantling stereotypes (and having fun!).
In the next few weeks look out for auditions for the inaugural ACAR Revue. This is an opportunity for you to show off your singing, dancing, acting or comedic writing prowess to the student community.  Interested in sketch comedy that challenges and entertains while educating and perplexing the most conservative of audiences? This is for you.

To meet the family, search ‘Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR)’ on Facebook, and come say hello at ‘DIVE-RSITY Ethnocultural Welcome at the Quadrangle (3-5pm Wednesday 24th of February).
As your 2016 ACAR Office Bearers, we’re here to be a point of contact between students and the SRC. Our goal is to represent the voice, greater interest, and desires of the students in our collective. We’re also here to offer general advice and support to students and groups on campus regarding race, racism, and white privilege. Feel free to give us a shout anytime at etho.cultural@src.usyd.edu.au

Wom*n of Colour Report – O-week 2016

Hey all and welcome to semester 1 of 2016, as I write this, I am admiring the t-shirts that have just come in for the Women of Colour Collective, which we will be selling for a gold coin donation that will go towards the Women’s Shelter, Lou’s Place.
The t-shirts look amazing and the stickers are on their way. It has been a bit difficult to get the Women of Colour Collective off the ground and it has been a bit of a teething process, but we are finally moving and doing some great work.

The beginning of the semester has been quite busy, with the Women of Colour collective working collaboratively with the Welfare department to send a USYD contingent to the Health Care Cuts rally, held on the 20th of February 2016 at 1pm.
The Women of Colour Collective will be meeting fortnightly and meetings will be held on Mondays starting in week 2 of semester at 4-5pm in the Women’s room at Manning House.

My aim for this year is to see the Women of Colour collective stand on its own two feet and I look forward to a year of intersectional crusading and feminist ass-kicking.

The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) Report – O-week

Hi there! The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) is a space for people of colour, Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islander persons, those from ethnocultural backgrounds, or those marginalised by white supremacy.

As your 2016 ACAR Office Bearers, we’re here to be a point of contact between students and the SRC. Our goal is to represent the voice, greater interest, and desires of the students in our Collective. We’re also here to offer general advice and support to students and groups on campus regarding race, racism, and white privilege. And, yes, we have a crazy exciting year planned in 2016!

From social gatherings, workshops, activism, festivals, film screenings, and creative opportunities, we are committed to fostering an inclusive space on campus and online where students can come together to meet other like minded-people, while dismantling stereotypes (and having fun!).
In the next few weeks look out for auditions for the inaugural ACAR Revue. This is an opportunity for you to show off your singing, dancing, acting or comedic writing prowess to the student community.  Interested in sketch comedy that challenges and entertains while educating and perplexing the most conservative of audiences? This is for you.

To meet the family, search ‘Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR)’ on Facebook, and come say hello at ‘DIVE-RSITY Ethnocultural Welcome at the Quadrangle (3-5pm Wednesday 24th of February).
As your 2016 ACAR Office Bearers, we’re here to be a point of contact between students and the SRC. Our goal is to represent the voice, greater interest, and desires of the students in our collective. We’re also here to offer general advice and support to students and groups on campus regarding race, racism, and white privilege. Feel free to give us a shout anytime at etho.cultural@src.usyd.edu.au

Campus Refugee Action Collective Report

CRAC will hold a campus meeting with ex-Manus Island Salvation Army worker and whistle-blower, Nicole Judge (soon to appear on Go back to Where You Came From) on Tuesday, 4th August 1pm, New Law 442

The Abbott Government is attempting to erect an iron curtain of secrecy over Australia’s immigration detention system. The Border Force Act, passed in May with the full support of parliamentary Labor, is a deliberate attempt to silence whistle-blowers who speak out about conditions in the offshore processing centres and prevent media scrutiny of anything to do with immigration detention or Operation Sovereign Borders.

The act carries the threat of a two year jail sentence for anyone working in the centres, affecting medical and welfare workers in particular. It also extends to journalists, who could be punished for obtaining information from detention workers.

But medical workers are not taking this affront lying down. On July 11, around 300 nurses, physiotherapists, doctors and social workers gathered outside Sydney’s Town Hall to protest the new laws and send a message of defiance to the government, joining protests in other cities and towns across the country.

Since the centres on Nauru and Manus Island were opened, a steady stream of workers from the centres have spoken out against conditions in detention and the treatment of asylum seekers, demonstrating that the offshore processing system has been in crisis from the beginning. A senate enquiry into conditions on Nauru has revealed shocking incidents of neglect, self-harm and abuse in the detention centres. These include child sexual assaults, guards trading drugs for sexual favours, and mass suicide pacts. Yet the government refuses to take responsibility for these horrors, and has instead opted to “shoot the messengers”. As long as offshore processing and mandatory detention continue, asylum seekers will be vulnerable to this kind of treatment and harm.

In supporting the Border Force Act, federal Labor has continued in its race to the bottom on refugees with Abbott. Key Labor leaders have now also signalled their willingness to turn back the boats, sending asylum seekers back to danger, in a desperate bid to score electoral points. Bipartisan support for cruelty towards refugees must be broken.

To this end, over the weekend of July 24th, CRAC, along with refugee activists from around Australia, attended a rally outside the ALP national conference in Melbourne, to back Labor4Refugees, encourage more members to join the refugee rights campaign and push open the growing cracks in Labor. The rally was followed by an activist conference to discuss the way forward for the movement on the streets, campuses and in workplaces across the country.

To get involved with CRAC or for more information, call Caitlin 0421 180 853 or Adam 0400 351 694 for more information.

Autonomous Collective Against Racism – Week 13

Hey friends! Your Ethnic Affairs Office Bearers/Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) Office Bearers here! We’ve had a busy time at ACAR finalising our plans for 2015 and we’ve got some fantastic things in the works!

As mentioned, we are currently assisting the USU in developing their new sensitivity training program so we can ensure that the USU is a welcoming and safe space for all People of Colour (PoC) on campus.

ACAR’s edition for Honi Soit is just around the corner. Look out for editor call outs and submission deadlines on our facebook group as we will be announcing them shortly.

We are also collaborating with the Muslim Wom*ns Collective to support a campaign based around tackling racism and Islamophobia on campus and in wider society.
We have Verge Festival coming up in October this year. We will be organising an autonomous poetry slam event for a non-autonomous audience! If you identify as a PoC, as an individual marignalised by White supremacy or structural oppression, please pen your feels into a poem and prepare to share your heart with us on stage. We’ll be ready with a sign-up sheet and beatnik clicks.

To celebrate the end of the semester, ACAR will be hosting a picnic on the 12th of June. Please come along to enjoy delicious food over great company. Further details will be listed on our facebook group.

Please remember you can contact us on our facebook page – Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) or find us at our regular weekly meetings on Wednesday 12pm at the Education Studio Room 229.

Campus Refugee Action Collective Report

Events of the last few weeks demonstrate the extent to which, if it goes unchallenged, cruel refugee policy will be the bipartisan standard. The Campus Refugee Action Collective (CRAC) held a pro-refugee speak-out outside opposition leader Bill Shorten’s pre-budget address on campus in recent weeks, where we spoke to many attendees, including Labor members, about the need to end offshore processing. After his address however, Shorten made clear that a Labor government in power would be determined to stop the boats. He even refused to rule out boat turn-backs. Shorten uses the same flawed ‘saving lives at sea’ argument as the Liberals. Stopping boats doesn’t save lives, it kills.
Treasurer Joe Hockey seems to think stopping the boats has a somewhat different effect. After the recent budget, Hockey said that the Liberals’ “have stopped the boats…As a result, we are saving more than $500m from closing unnecessary detention centres and…the costs of processing new boat arrivals.” Savings certainly could be made by closing unnecessary detention centres: refugees could be welcomed and processed in the community, saving the government more than $7 billion on offshore detention.

Instead, the Liberals’ real strategy for saving ‘costs’ is to bully and bribe our poorer neighbours. Alongside a coincidental $40 million “aid” packet, Australia has hitched a deal with Cambodia for refugee resettlement. CRAC held a forum on campus last week to expose the true nature of the ‘Cambodia solution’. Cambodia is the 48th poorest nation in the world and has repeatedly refouled refugees– a group of Uighur refugees, from Muslim minority persecuted by Chinese govt. were sent back to China– the next day China handed over $1 billion in aid.

The Cambodia deal is essentially a way for the government to plug up the holes in its offshore processing system which has been in crisis since day one. But the contradictions in the government’s policy are insurmountable – the boats continue to arrive, because asylum seekers are just as desperate now as they were before. We should not be shifting our responsibilities on to desperately poor countries, effectively bribing them to cooperate with Australia to undermine international human rights treaties.

The Campus Refugee Action Collective is campaigning to end offshore processing and mandatory detention. To turn the tide on public opinion and pull down the fences, we need to build the campaign everywhere. We encourage all students to get involved with us – we meet every Monday 11am in the SRC.

Campus Refugee Action Collective

Late March and April saw mass protests demonstrate the depth of community opposition to Abbott’s war on refugees. In Sydney on April 19, around 3000 people energetically mobilized, demanding an end to offshore processing and calling for a humane refugee policy. The Sydney protest came on the heels of a massive pro-refugee mobilization of 15 000 in Melbourne on Palm Sunday.

The protests coincided with yet more revelations about the criminal conditions faced by refugees in Abbott’s offshore camps. In early April an open letter  signed by 24 current and former Save the Children and medical staff revealed that the Immigration Department was aware of women and children being abused on Nauru for 17 months and didn‘t respond.The letter reveals that then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison covered up the abuse and effectively ensured it continued by refusing to act. The letter compounds the findings of the Moss Review that exposed evidence of sexual abuse in the Australian Government run Nauru center.

Along with the protests in Australia, protests by hundreds of refugees on Nauru have rocked the Island throughout the year. A new law decreed on March 23 attempted to restrict the ability of refugees to protest by giving the Nauru Police Commissioner absolute power to ban any demonstration. Refugees have made the law a dead letter by continuing to resist. On April 24, 200 staged a protest against the Australian Government’s attempts to find refugees willing to be dumped in Cambodia. They called for “Justice,” and “Freedom,” and “Cambodia – never, ever.” Peter Dutton has been desperately trying to find refugees who will go along with his “Cambodia Solution” but the exercise has been reduced to a farce.

The damning revelations about conditions on Nauru and the momentum out of the protests in March and April have to be channeled into the July 25 rally outside the Labor national conference in Melbourne. We have to demand a real alternative to Abbott’s brutality and say no to mandatory detention and offshore processing—let them land, let them stay!

Ehnic Affairs Report

Hey friends! Your Ethnic Affairs Office Bearers/Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) Office Bearers here! We’ve had a busy time at ACAR finalizing our plans for 2015 and we’ve got some fantastic things in the works!

As mentioned, we are currently assisting the USU in developing their new sensitivity training program so we can ensure that the USU is a welcoming and safe space for all People of Colour (PoC) on campus.

Many of us continue to attend the Critical Race Discussion Group (CRDG). Let us take this moment to clarify that CRDG isn’t owned or run by ACAR, but we love supporting the group and facilitating students seeking to engage in nuanced critiques and understandings of race.

We are also collaborating with the Muslim Wom*ns Collective to support a campaign based around tackling racism and Islamophobia on campus and in wider society.

Lastly, we have Verge Festival coming up in October this year. We will be organizing an autonomous poetry slam event for a non-autonomous audience! If you identify as a PoC, as an individual marignalised by White supremacy or structural oppression, please pen your feels into a poem and prepare to share your heart with us on stage. We’ll be ready with a sign-up sheet and beatnik clicks.

In more serious news, concerned students have approached us about the state of PoC politics at UNSW. As a result, we’re planning the rollout of a PoC awareness campaign, one in which we hope to work together with UNSW students with the aim to create awareness in university communities of understanding the term “People of Colour” and why autonomous representation is valued and important.

The official government definition of CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) is a problematically homogenizing acronym that fails to distinguish the structural hierarchy of oppression and White supremacy of which manifest in the lived experiences of people of colour.

Please remember you can contact us on our facebook page—Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) or find us at our regular weekly meetings on Wednesday 12pm at the Education Studio Room 229.
Lamisse Hamouda, Eden Caceda, Kavya Kalutantiri and Deeba Binaei

The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) had a fantastic turnout this OWeek

Hello again! Your Ethnic Affairs Officers here! The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) had a fantastic turnout this OWeek and we were very pleased to work closely with the newly formed Muslim Wom*ns Collective at our stall. We gave out over 150 gift bags with pamphlets and other information about fighting racism on campus, online resources and our inaugural zine with contributions from students of colour. We hope these materials will continue to inform students about our collective and our aims in providing a racist-free and safe university space.

During OWeek we hosted our first two events of the year. The first was a Safe Spaces panel where our speakers, Riki Scanlan, Subeta Vimalarajah and ourselves, Eden and Lamisse discussed what is necessary to create safe spaces so no Person of Colour, wom*n, queer or disabled individual feels threatened, silenced or attacked. We also talked about how safe spaces could be fostered and how all people can contribute to making marginalized people feel welcome in social spaces.

Our second event was an autonomous mixer where new and old members of ACAR could meet and come together as a collective. It was great to see the intersectionality in this years collective, with queer and wom*n of colour becoming more involved with ACAR. This social event is one of many we hope to hold to allow students of colour to mix together and move away from a political sphere of discussion.

ACAR also applauds the many queer and wom*n of colour who were involved with International Women’s Day and celebrated the successful (and rain-free) Mardi Gras. These two events are important because they remind us about the successes of both queer and wom*n of colour as well as highlight the continued struggle they both face in society.

If you missed us at OWeek, never fear! It’s easy to join us during the year. We’re in the midst of choosing a collective meeting time, but until then, we have a fantastic Facebook group where we discuss and organise. Likewise if you want to keep up with our events and campaigns, but maybe don’t identify as a Person of Colour, chuck us a ‘like’ on our ACAR Facebook page: www.facebook.com/usydacar

Have a great week!
Ethnic Affairs Officers

Sydney Uni Refugee Action Collective

2015 began with a renewed crisis for the Liberals’ brutal offshore processing regime, Operation Sovereign Borders. Over 700 asylum seekers went on hunger strike to protest their imprisonment on Manus Island. More than 40 people stitched their lips and there were extreme cases of self-harm and suicide attempts including people swallowing nail clippers, razor blades and washing powder. The government responded with a savage oppression. They denied refugees drinking water and later roused up and imprisoned protest organisers.

The Australian Government’s brutal detention regime continues to take its toll on asylum seekers. The reality of indefinite detention, unsanitary conditions, the threat of deportation and violent treatment has led to constant unrest inside the prison camps.

The Human Rights Commission report on children in detention is just the latest confirmation of the kind of horrors asylum seekers experience in detention, whether they are women, children or men. It’s an unjust system and it has to go.

The Sydney Uni Refugee Action Collective (formerly Anti-Racism Collective) is a collective for students committed to campaigning for the rights of refugees. We stand for a pro-refugee campus and fight to see refugees have their claims processed humanely in the community with guaranteed resettlement in Australia. A just refugee policy can only begin by welcoming the boats.

Refugee rights groups have been springing up across the country to answer this challenge. Students must join the doctors, Christian groups, unions and rural Australians mobilizing against the government’s cruelty. We need to make our campus a bastion of pro-refugee activism and energy that will inspire others to fight back. Together we can win! Under John Howard, it was grassroots activism that shifted public opinion, broke bipartisan support for offshore processing and pushed back the Pacific Solution. It is this sort of vibrant campaign we will need to stop Abbott

COME TO OUR FIRST FORUM OF THE YEAR WITH SPECIAL GUEST, NICOLE JUDGE (12pm Tuesday, March 17 – New Law 117)
Nicole was a worker and eyewitness on Manus Island during the unrest that resulted in the brutal murder of Reza Barati. We’ll be hearing from her, discussing refugee policy in general and most importantly, what we can do as students.

We have a big year ahead of us. The Coalition government is determined to entrench some of the cruelest refugee policy seen in Australia’s history. But refugee supporters around the country are equally determined to fight for a humane refugee policy

The campus refugee rights club meets every Monday 11am on New Law Lawns. All welcome! If you’re keen to get involved, check out our fb page, ‘Sydney Uni Refugee Action Collective’ or contact Gabby on 0416 488 258. Stand up, fight back!