Counterpoint Community Services celebrated Harmony Week, in conjunction with the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, by launching its very own Anti-Racism Library on March 25.
The “library”, based at Alexandria Town Hall, is the brainchild of Counterpoint’s Operations Manager, Mr Bill Yan. The idea stems from his involvement with the New South Wales Local Government Network’s Anti-Racism Working Group, where the differences between social cohesion and anti-racism advocacy are discussed.
It becomes apparent that both frameworks need to be championed together, leading to better racism issues awareness while building harmonious societies in a safe space.
Still, having the idea is only the first step, as it’s an expensive endeavour. Fortuitously, in 2021, Counterpoint received a lump sum donation for books from the Commonwealth Bank in South Eveleigh as part of its NAIDOC Week celebration.
On the day, the attendees in this small celebration of 13 people included City of Sydney’s Councillor Emelda Davis and Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore; community leaders including Alexandria Park Community School P&C President, Mr Neil Morris; community representatives, Ms Catherine Skipper and Ms Lucy Brereton and the library’s benefactor from South Eveleigh’s Commonwealth Bank, Ms Ashley Aulburn.
The Race Discrimination Commissioner, Mr Chin Tan, sent his apologies with a message that was read out by his representatives on the day. His message about the importance of education in promoting human rights and equality will be framed and form part of the library.
“This is such an important initiative for multicultural Australia,” said Mr Jack Chen, a CALD community staff person at the City of Sydney. Mr Yan added, “I hope that this space will create dialogue and tackle racism, while building a harmonious society.”
For now, the collection consists of a small, but growing, selection of about 60 titles suitable for all ages. Local State MP Jenny Leong also sent her apology, but has made a commitment to support the growth of the collection.