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Black Lives Matter and ‘Anti-Racism’

“It is no longer enough to simply say we are ‘not racist’. We must be actively anti-racist.

At YSAS we have a diverse workforce that includes and benefits from the experience of many people of colour. This includes YSAS people who are Aboriginal and of a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Similarly, there is rich diversity among the young people, families and communities that we join with through our work.

It is structural and perpetuated by social institutions and systems that privilege white Australians, particularly those who grew up in this Country. A place to start is this article on 10 Things You Should Know About White Privilege.

YSAS uses our privilege to create the conditions within our organisation to hear and amplify the voices of young people and colleagues of colour. Their experiences of racism need to be understood and addressed.

We are committed to being actively anti-racist. This requires us as an organisation to interrogate ourselves and identify implicit biases and barriers that may be embedded in our systems and policies. Then we have to make the necessary changes.

While we recognise that racism is not just interpersonal, YSAS staff are provided with an extensive list of Australian based and international anti-racism resources including books, articles, podcasts, films and lists of social media sites.

We encourage all YSAS staff and volunteers who are from privileged backgrounds to learn what it means to be a good Ally/Accomplice and act on it. Also to learn what performative Allyship means and how to avoid it. If any of us are ‘called out’ for something we say or do, we do our best to avoid becoming defensive and instead, stay calm, listen, acknowledge and apologise, inquire about what you could we could do better or differently and move on with changed behaviour and thinking. 

In relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in the US has sparked outrage worldwide at the ongoing issues with police brutality and racial profiling in the US.

YSAS has a strong track record of collaborating with Victoria Police and supporting ethical and effective community policing but we also acknowledge that Australia has a long history of police brutality and racial profiling against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Click here to watch a recent segment on ‘The Project’, where the daughter of Aunty Tanya Day is interviewed and the links with the US Black Lives Matter movement are discussed.

We must be vigilant in standing against racial profiling and excessive use of force towards young people from African and Pacifica backgrounds and other people of colour from migrant communities in Australia. This article highlights issues around racial profiling of African Australian youth in Melbourne.

Please find a list of Australian organisations that you can donate with to support ‘Anti-Racism’ in Australia

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service 
National Justice Project
Black Rainbow
Grandmothers Against Forced Removals 
Healing Foundation
Flemington Kensington Community Legal Service ‘Police Accountability Project’

The latest from YSAS

Media Release  
23.05.2024

Up to 330 young people per year who come into contact with police will be denied access to an effective program that can turn them away from crime and toward a better future.

Despite a recent rise in youth crime and concerns about community safety, the State Government did…

Media Release  
23.04.2024

YSAS welcomes the Allan government’s Statewide Action Plan to reduce alcohol-related harm, including the appointment of Victoria’s first Chief Addiction Advisor.

YSAS CEO Andrew Bruun said the plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to making evidence-based harm reduction policy and treatment available to those who most need it.

“A targeted,…

Media Release  
23.04.2024

Young people with lived experience of drug and alcohol-related harm are disappointed the Victorian government won’t create a safe injecting service in Melbourne’s CBD.

YSAS practitioners, addiction medicine specialists and experts with lived and living experience have supported the life-saving North Richmond supervised safe injecting service since its inception in 2018.

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22.04.2024

John Albrecht has fundraised for febfast each year for 15 years, often raising over $10,000. Here are his top tips for boosting your fundraising efforts.

When it comes to charity fundraisers – think febfast, Run for the Kids etc. – it’s often the money-raising bit that’s the hardest. We diligently…

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04.03.2024

Daniel Robinson Croft is a lived and living experience Youth Peer Advocate at Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), Australia’s largest youth-specific community service organisation focussed on youth alcohol and other drugs, mental health and youth services. Daniel frequently volunteers for various harm reduction services within Victoria and is a community campaigner for…

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08.02.2024

This opinion piece was featured on ABC Health & Wellbeing on 11 February 2023.

What if I told you I’d found a tablet that could make you sleep better, think clearer, concentrate longer, run faster, and help your immune system?

That doing one simple thing could bring such a…

Media Release  
07.02.2024

One week into the month-long national fundraiser febfast over 2,000 participants have signed up to take a break from alcohol, go sugar-free of give up another vice. In the midst of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis it’s never been a more important time to support charities experiencing the double pinch of…

Media Release  
31.01.2024

National fundraiser febfast has begun— where Aussies ditch booze, sugar or another vice to improve their health and raise funds for young people facing addiction.

To mark the beginning of febfast, CEO of VicHealth Dr Sandro Demaio is available to talk about the scientific health benefits…