Racism not welcome

When you approach Claremont College's Coogee Bay Road entrance you would notice that we have a new sign which simply says 'Racism Not Welcome'. I first noticed this sign up when walking down a street in the Inner West. I remember being impressed by such a powerful sign. It got me thinking deeply about racism, and I also found it was the catalyst for challenging conversations with others who also saw the sign. It just so happened that at the same time, Mr Thomas came across the same sign on social media, and discovered that the former Socceroos captain and human rights campaigner, Craig Foster, was leading the 'Racism Not Welcome' campaign. Fast forward a few weeks - now Claremont College has its own ‘Racism Not Welcome’ sign. We proudly seek to actively and intentionally send the message to our students, staff, parents and our wider community, a message that we have prioritised to communicate for a number of years now, that we are an inclusive school, we would like everyone to feel empowered to stand up against racism, and that we aspire to celebrate, honour and respect all races. As Foster argues, 'The path ahead for every Australian... is to proclaim loudly, publicly and visibly that we're united together as people against division, against discrimination... in this context, race.' 

Our school embraces diversity, tolerance and acceptance of all, and rejects all forms of racism, prejudice and discrimination. Racist behaviour occurs when someone is belittled, mocked, intimidated or shamed because of their physical appearance, ethnic background, religious or cultural practices or for the way they speak. Racism can range from casual but hurtful remarks, to deliberate physical and verbal attacks. Racism has damaging effects on individuals, school communities and society. The American Academy of Pediatrics released its first ever policy statement on how racism affects the health and development of children. It states that racism is a core social determinant of health that has a profound impact on the health status of children and their families. We acknowledge that our school plays a critical role in developing understandings of racism, responding to incidents of racism and preparing students for responsible and effective citizenship in Australian society. If you or your child experiences or witnesses racism at school, please inform your child's teacher, or our Acting Deputy Principal, Mrs James. Together we can help create a positive, inclusive culture - one that values diversity and does not tolerate racism.

One of Claremont College's 3 school rules is 'Be Respectful' and we actively teach our students about the importance of diversity, tolerance and acceptance of all. We value leadership and ethics, selflessness, working towards a higher purpose and building a school and a country where we all belong, with a spirit of generosity. We seek opportunities to attend excursions and incursions, and to study literature and artworks from a range of cultural backgrounds. We are also looking forward to celebrating International Day in Term 3 this year. This will be a wonderful day where our students will spend the day learning about the different cultures within their grades, and for them to perform a cultural dance for our parent community. Keep your eye out in future newsletters for more details in regards to this special event on Thursday 9 September 2021. Please let us know when you will be celebrating your national day of importance (should you or another family member come from another country) so that we can promote this within our school community.

For more information:  'Democracy in Colour' campaign 'Our Race' Campaign Human Rights Commission's 'Racism, It Stops with Me' campaign NSW Anti-Racism Working Group

Larissa Cameron Co-Principal