Saturday, April 21, 2018

Challenging perceptions

sadviser June 29, 2011

PURSUIT OF EQUALITY… 11-year-old Congolese born, Deng Thon of Shepparton is featured in new community awareness campaign, See Beyond Race created to tackle racism and discrimination in the region. Photo: Alicia Zeqir.Media campaign launched to tackle racism and discrimination

By Nadia Surace
AIMING to reduce race-based discrimination and promote cultural diversity acceptance within local community, See Beyond Race, a new community awareness campaign was launched in Shepparton last week.
The television, radio, billboard and newspaper campaign that will run until September features local people and local stories and is a partnership between VicHealth, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and Greater Shepparton City Council.
Greater Shepparton Mayor, Cr Geoff Dobson said involvement of locals and their real life interests in the campaign has made it a powerful tool to challenge people’s perceptions and showcase the region’s vibrant and diverse community.
“By looking beyond race we can gain a much better understanding of the people who live and work in Greater Shepparton and who help to make our community a better place,” Cr Dobson said.
VicHealth Acting CEO Associate Professor, John Fitzgerald said the campaign is the first in regional Australia to be delivered to reduce race-based discrimination.
“We’ve worked closely with a range of people in the area including representatives from some of the key cultural groups in Greater Shepparton to develop this campaign,” Prof Fitzgerald said.
“The campaign highlights the true face of diversity in this local community and is a strong reminder of the importance of looking beyond stereotypes and seeing beyond race.”
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke said she hopes the campaign will inspire other communities about the value of challenging stereotypes and tackling racism head on.
“Racism and race-based discrimination can be very damaging to physical and mental health and also the health of the community in general, and I’m very impressed with the willingness of the City of Greater Shepparton, not to mention the community, to take active steps to combat it.”
See Beyond Race is part of a broader Localities Embracing and Accepting Diversity (LEAD) Project, which has been running in Shepparton since 2009.