I think acceptance is not just about acceptance of Australian culture, it’s about accepting all cultures. We need to be welcoming. But we need to be educating ourselves and others too. I believe we should be working towards making all people feel equally important and valued.
I am a teacher and I have spent nearly 30 years teaching multicultural students both in Australia and overseas. The most fantastic part of my life has been experiencing difference through the diverse cultural groups I have taught. I say thank God for differences, what a boring world it would be without difference. But when you think about it, the differences between us are so small. We might look different, but we are all basically the same. We need to be educating ourselves about this ‘sameness’ and, at the same time, appreciate the ‘difference’. It’s important for us to recognise that racism is not just something that happens to you when you come to Australia, countries all over the world are affected by racism. That is why we need all cultures to be accepting of each other.
Education is the way to move forward. Learning English and other community languages is a great way to understand and enjoy our difference and our sameness. Language is very important to me. People need to find a way to communicate simply. The way we use words can either let someone into our world, or shut them out. This is why I am so passionate about language and words, because they can open the door and let the world in.
You can see Liz's image at Laverton Community Hub, Altona Meadows Library and Williamstown Library