No place for racism

A public statement from the CEO of Concern Australia

Our hearts are with the family, friends and community of Solomone Taufeulungaki, a 15-year-old boy who was killed by a group of young men at Deer Park Shopping Centre on Tuesday, just minutes from our north-west office in Braybrook.

Solomone’s death is a tragic signpost to the critically urgent work needed with young people who are disengaged and vulnerable.

I have been disturbed by the language I have seen speculating about gangs of ethnic origin. This kind of response often serves to further stigmatise young people and their communities who are already unfairly marginalised and does not address the root causes of the kind of violence that led to Solomone’s death.

Concern Australia stands firmly with communities of all cultural backgrounds and we state clearly that the issue is not one of race or culture. Its an issue shining a light on young people’s needs.

Solomone’s family and community have responded to this tragedy with grace and love, a strong example for us all.

We all need to work together to provide support for young people that builds community and a sense of belonging, so that they may navigate their own unique challenges and build hope for their future.

The world and our own country are experiencing a remarkable moment in history, as we are witness to and learn more about the traumatic and debilitating effects of racism at personal, cultural and institutional levels, for our nation’s First Peoples, and the many diverse cultural groups that make up the beautiful rich tapestry that is our community.   

At Concern Australia, we are committed to diversity, inclusion, actively standing against racism and pursuing symbolic and practical actions for furthering reconciliation with the traditional custodians of the land on which we work. This includes the development of our own Reconciliation Action Plan and ongoing education for staff, volunteers and board members.

We do not tolerate racism in our workplace or in any of our relationships with partners, funders or the communities we serve.  We encourage everyone in the community to deepen their learning about racism, its impact, and how we can all be part of working for change.

We will be extending offers of support and encouragement to Solomone’s school with whom we partner through our Hand Brake Turn program.

Michelle Crawford
Chief Executive Officer
18 June 2020