Reconciliation Australia congratulates Beyond Blue on its new national anti-discrimination campaign which is a timely wake-up call for all Australians to think carefully about their behaviour and the impact it has on others around them.
Reconciliation Australia Co-Chair Dr Tom Calma AO, the former Race Discrimination Commissioner, said all forms of racism should be condemned.
“We know that racism destroys the confidence, self-esteem and health of individuals and in many cases can lead to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples taking their own lives.
“Highlighting the impact of racism on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will, we hope, encourage all Australians to ‘check’ their behaviour,” Dr Calma said.
Racial discrimination has a compounding effect on mental health. A recent study conducted by the Lowitja Institute, showed an overwhelming majority (97 percent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced racism multiple times.
The campaign Stop, Think, Respect aims to reduce the impact of interpersonal discrimination on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by raising awareness among non-Indigenous people and challenging them to question their own behaviour and expressions of racial discrimination, particularly subtle racism.
Reconciliation Australia was part of a national advisory group to help guide the project’s development.
“At Reconciliation Australia we know that racism undermines efforts to create fair and inclusive communities, breaks down relationships and erodes trust.”
“Racism also perpetuates inequalities and can directly, or indirectly, exclude people from accessing opportunities and reaching their full potential,” Dr Calma said.
“We believe that stronger relationships, built on shared knowledge and respect, are central to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people fully participating in the economic and social opportunities enjoyed by the wider community, which is their fundamental right.”
Stop, Think, Respect will run for six weeks across television, digital and outdoor advertising channels. To join the campaign on social media, use #StopThinkRespect or visit www.beyondblue.org.au for more details.