As a multicultural nation, the growing prevalence of racism is indisputable.
Racism is a complex issue, perpetuated intentionally, systemically and casually.
Taking the multilayered nature of racism into consideration, it is unsurprising that around one in five Australians have experienced racial discrimination, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
UTSOC, UTS Equity and Diversity and ActivateUTS have collaborated to bring the “Racism. It Stops With Me” campaign to the university campus.
Many campaigns of a similar nature tend to be lost in the background of public spaces, resting as posters in offices and notes in handbooks.
To counteract this, the campaign directors implemented some innovative strategies to create the most visible campaign in UTS history.
They brought a diverse range of staff and students from across the university to take the “Racism. It Stops With Me” pledge.
Behind the scenes they were able to transform the Underground food court, with the installation of a booth mural featuring photographs of the pledgers.
The high student traffic in the Underground and its role as a space of discussion on campus enhanced its effectiveness in raising awareness of the campaign.
Creative lead of the campaign Harry Roth describes the space as “the perfect opportunity to turn heads . . . and create a conversation piece.
“People go to the Underground for a conversation and often it’s spaces like this that racism grows . . . why can’t we get people talking about how they can stop racism?”
Another large photographic mural was also set up on the UTS Concourse, near the popular Towers Café.
The campaign has also utilised digital platforms by presenting a short looped video every five minutes on both projectors and TV screens across campus.
“Racism. It Stops With Me” took social media by storm, with the campaign photographs uploaded as the profile pictures of each pledger.
The campaign distinguishes itself in its visual approach, displaying smiling faces and positivity rather than the approach of sadness or anger often employed in racism campaigns.
Campaign director Linus Faustin describes the campaign as “a positive way of reminding and teaching people that racism is not acceptable.”
ActivateUTS and UTS Equity and Diversity are proud to support the initiative and without their support the campaign would not be possible.
UTS Equity Officer Joanna Leonard says “this campaign is so important for all of us at UTS.
“The campaign reflects the campus’ diversity and creates awareness that racism is not tolerated at UTS and we all have a responsibility to speak up when we see it.”
The campaign’s message has spread far and wide throughout the campus, with a campaign launch video amassing a reach of over 60K online.
A survey also indicated a 40 per cent increase in awareness of the campaign on campus.
The campaign’s success has inspired its leaders to continue to enhance its visibility in future endeavours.
Author: Patrick Hemmati