Asian Australian Lawyers Association
Statement from the National Executive Committee
Black Lives Matter
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, acknowledging that racism is still prevalent in our society. In America and elsewhere, Black communities have been affected by displacement, violence and systemic racism for hundreds of years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities have been affected by misunderstanding, ignorance, displacement, violence, mistreatment and racism ever since Europeans entered the country. These acts and omissions have resulted in considerable injustice and inequity, much of which is yet to be seriously addressed.
This global movement has brought Australia’s attention to the flaws in our own justice system. As a body that represents the legal profession, we stand proud of our diversity, and aware of our privilege as members of the legal profession. We acknowledge our experience is different, but we come from a place of a shared understanding that racism should not be accepted in any form and we are committed to the transformation that is required of us all.
We can start by actively calling out racism when we see it, standing with our African American, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends and colleagues and all other Australians of a culturally diverse background, informing the misinformed and spreading awareness among our communities of the many injustices that still exist.
We will listen. We will build the knowledge, empathy and respect required to have the courage to speak out and act when we see injustice. We will invite others to the table to discuss their experiences and continue to build a collective network. We are humble and mindful of the history that has brought our communities together.
We will seek to be champions of equality and diversity in our workplaces, our communities and our homes by actively playing our part in Australia’s reconciliation journey. We also call on the Law Societies and Bar Associations of each State and Territory to implement compulsory cultural competency training as part of the profession’s continuing professional development requirements as a baseline standard.
To achieve fundamental, intersectional and inclusive change in our systems, we as lawyers must grow and become more accepting of difference, challenge our biases and modes of thinking. Let us diversify our newsfeeds, read histories and philosophies different to our own, learn and listen to the songs and stories of all our neighbours — internalise the different languages, accents, messages. Lead by example; be an engaged ally; transform oneself.
Ten important books on Indigenous cultures, histories and politics: https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Rec-News-Ten-Important-Books.pdfFor information and resources on Australia’s reconciliation journey, please visit https://www.reconciliation.org.au/.
Kind regardsAsian Australian Lawyers Association National Executive Committee