ISSUE 17 / FEBRUARY - MARCH 2012
YOUNG PEOPLE AND MULTICULTURALISM DEMOCRACY AND DUE PROCESS SYDNEY PEACE PRIZE
news • opportunities • action • opinion February - March 2012 unleash
unleash is YAPA’s magazine of youth opinion and action.
Candice Cokinas questions whether there can be true democracy without due process
YAPA’s Leah Weber shows us ‘How To’ plan a campaign
Dean Williamson speaks with Keeliah from Indigenous Dance Group, Kokorek
Dean Cvetkoski introduces unleash readers to Loud Tribe!
Jessie Clare Cottle taps into the mind of a girl interrupted in (You)th Express
Siobhan Graham tells her mother’s story of multiculturalism
unleash editor Erin sits down with Anna Page for a chat about cancer
Paulina Kruminaite reviews a talk by 2011 Sydney Peace Prize recipient, Noam Chomsky
Andrew Cureton showcases his photography at the ‘As Eye See It’ Exhibition
Year 10 Work Experience Student Simran Hingorani spends a week at the unleash office (and lives to tell the tale!)
Dean Williamson reviews the NSW State Plan, and how it affects you news OPPORTUNITIES FINAL word unleash YOURSELF!
FEBRUARY - MARCH 2012 If you are under 20, unleash gives you the opportunity to express your opinions on issues that concern you. It also supports and encourages you to take positive action to improve your community and young people’s lives. editor Erin Fouracre
coordinator Nick Manning
graphic design Emma-Lee Crane, Milk Thieves Art & Design www.milkthieves.com.au YAPA, the Youth Action & Policy Association NSW Inc, is the peak organisation representing young people & youth services in NSW. YAPA is not religious and not party political. YAPA receives core funding from the NSW Government - Department of Family and Community Services. More at www.yapa.org.au/yapa get unleash unleash is published 6 times each year. See the subscription details on the inside back cover, or go to www.yapa.org.au/unleash feedback We want to hear what you like, what you don’t like, and what you would like, in unleash. We also want to hear what you think about the issues discussed in unleash. Here’s how: • email: firstname.lastname@example.org • voicemail: leave a message on the unleash feedback line (02) 9281 5522 – ext. 4 or toll free (NSW landlines only) 1800 627 323 – ext. 4 contribute unleash is a space for young people aged 12-19. See how you can contribute on page 19, or go to www.yapa.org.au/unleash advertise If you would like to advertise in unleash, please contact Nick Manning at YAPA on (02) 9281 5522 – ext. 4 or email email@example.com. legalities unleash is © Copyright YAPA 2011. Individual articles are copyright the individual authors. Contact us if you would like to copy something from unleash.
04 17 18 19
This edition’s cover art is by eighteen year old Muriel Ricafrente. “I have always had a great interest in hands. I love the detail of every crease or fold on a hand because it tells a story. I have always seen the Japanese culture as having so much substance when it comes to art. I’d like my outlook on art to be as vivid as theirs.”
Opinions are the author’s and not necessarily YAPA’s. contact us Erin Fouracre - Editor unleash magazine Youth Action & Policy Association NSW Inc Suite 403, 64-76 Kippax Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 firstname.lastname@example.org (02) 9281 5522 - ext. 4 or tollfree (NSW landlines only) 1800 627 323 fax (02) 9281 5588 www.yapa.org.au/unleash printed on 100% recycled paper
unleash February February -- March March 2012 2012 unleash
Muriel will receive a $50 gift voucher for letting us publish her artwork! If you are under 20 years and would like us to consider your art, in any form, for a future front cover of unleash, email email@example.com.
Laura Blundell, 16, Church Point
“While Australia does accept a decent number of refugees and celebrates all sorts of cultures in mainstream society, it really needs to re-think its approach to processing asylum seekers.”
“I think that the media is quite good at spinning things and manipulating the issue and turning us against people coming to Australia. But I think if Australians actually met these people personally, they would be much more open to asylum seekers.” Michael Rutherford, 17, Liverpool
“Really, the problem is about population and economics. In general, I think that our multicultural country is quite as welcoming as it can be.” Sarina Hao, 16, Manly
Wilson He, 16, Manly
“I believe that Australia is a welcoming country but has gone about the asylum seeker issue in the wrong way. This has had a negative effect on the international perception of our country.” Simran Hingorani, 15, Dee Why
Alex Tan, 17, Cabramatta West
“I would say that it is welcoming in some respects. For example, to those who migrate here with visas, but not to those who are genuine asylum seekers fleeing for their lives. Australia is a multicultural country, so what better way to promote this than by allowing asylum seekers to be processed in the community?”
“Definitely not. We should let asylum seekers into Australia. There’s a reason why they’re called asylum seekers: because they’re fleeing from persecution. We’ve signed the Refugee Convention… so Australia is obliged to accept refugees.”
We know that Australia is a multicultural country, but in light of the recent asylum seeker debate, is it a welcoming country?
February - March 2012 unleash
unleash’s take on how young people made the news in the last month or so... and any extras that might be relevant to you(th)! NSW Young Australian of the Year 2012 - Jennifer Star
School, body image main worries for young: survey
Jennifer Star’s dream to make a difference in the world is well under way. An outstanding athlete with a brilliant academic record, Jennifer was named one of Australia’s 100 Brightest Young Minds in 2007. Several years ago she went to India as a World Vision Youth Ambassador and teacher. There were no classrooms and Jennifer found herself sitting under a tree with 48 children and no resources. Then and there she resolved to return to India to improve the plight of some of the world’s most impoverished people. At just 21 she started Tara.Ed, an innovative non-government organisation promoting sustainable quality education in rural India by targeting teachers rather than students.
More young Australians are worried about school and study than ever before and are struggling to cope with life’s stresses, according to a major annual survey of youth.
More: smh.com.au 30/11/11
Congratulations Jennifer, good to see a young person seeing a problem and making a change. Check out Leah’s article on Campaign Planning (page 6) for how you can do the same!
With many young women registering their highest concern as body image, this seriously calls into question the effectiveness of recent government campaigns. Do you have an opinion on what more could be done? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mission Australia’s 10th National Survey of Young Australians surveyed almost 46,000 young people (mostly aged 11 to 19). When asked to rank their personal concerns from fifteen issues, school/study problems was ranked most frequently in the top three by 37% of respondents, followed by coping with stress at 35%. While body image was the third ranked issue overall, it was the top concern for girls. Issues such as suicide, sexuality and self-harm are lesser concerns than in 2008. One in five young people felt they could not talk to anyone about their major concern in life, the report showed. But more optimistically, two-thirds felt positive about the future, and only 9% were negative.
Poor me! how I stuffed up by getting into debt so you don’t have to I really wish I hadn’t gotten into debt. And I’m not the only one… I’m 20 and I’m going to be broke for the next seven years while I pay off everything I owe. Joanna is repaying $27,000 in debts and still owes $15,000 on her car. Laura became insolvent at 23 owing $30,000.
Glenmore Park teen’s debut album due early 2012
We all stuffed up. And we’d all like other young people to learn from our mistakes, instead of making their own. This book includes all the things we really wish we’d known before things got out of control. And, for anyone who has already made mistakes, there’s some help with getting back on track.
She is only sixteen but Sydney’s Natasha Duarte is well on her way to becoming a superstar. The singer-songwriter has had a passion for music since early childhood. She already has a recording contract under her belt with her debut pop/rock solo album due for release early next year. Winning the JB HI-FI Kool Skools Competition in 2008 helped her secure a deal with Empire Records. Natasha said she was influenced by artists like Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin
More: penrith-press.whereilive.com.au 24/11/11
Managing your money is an important life skill that is so rarely taught to young people. Finding yourself in debt can set you back years, and I think that more should be done to educate young people on how to be cash savvy. In the mean time, check out this book!
You can check out some of Natasha’s clips on YouTube!
One year, Luke gambled away most of the $120,000 he worked hard to earn.
More news, and links to full articles are at: www.yapa.org.au/youth/news.php. PDF readers: Click the link at the end of the item.
unleash February - March 2012
ThE DEATh Of COLONEL MOAMMAR GADDAfI
By Candice Cokinas, who questions whether there can be democracy without due process. Saddam Hussein. Osama bin Laden. Now Colonel Moammar Gaddafi.
The fundamental idea of a democracy is that the power is given to the people, and that the fate of a decision rests with the majority. But what if the majority of his country wanted him dead? The mass celebrations and the use of camera phones to chronicle his last moments made this clearer than ever.
On 20 October 2011, the former Libyan dictator was dragged from a concrete pipe, covered in blood, and surrendered himself to an army of Libyan men. It was later confirmed that Gaddafi was dead. The world watched on YouTube.
He should have been captured and tried in a court of law, but where was the justice for the people living under his dictatorship? Forty-one years ago Gaddafi, as captain of the army, led a successful military coup to overthrow King Idris. Libya was taken by force. The people of Libya, forty-one years later, had no choice but to take their country back by force.
As Libyans rejoiced in their freedom, others asked for an explanation. Omar al-Shibani, the commander of the unit that captured Gaddafi, reassured the international community that they had done everything to keep him alive before handing him over to the ambulance.
The National Transitional Council (NTC) is pledging that, when caught, Gaddafi’s killer will face prosecution. What is the point? Even if Gaddafi had been captured and judged according to law, wouldn’t he - like Saddam Hussein - have been executed anyway?
This story is implausible. My cynicism towards the official government line stems from my knowledge of a broken country plagued by 41 years of oppression, and of the eight previous assassination attempts against the tyrant. Gaddafi’s death was no accident. One of the Libyan rebels pulled a 9mm pistol from his waistband and shot him in the head, but the autopsy that confirms this will not be released until the Attorney General gives his approval.
So, it would seem that the complex court process has been avoided. This mirrors the modern world’s new trend of seeking out enemies and murdering them. This makes a mockery of International justice.
Regardless of which story is true, one thing is for sure: Gaddafi is dead. But was his death democratic?
Let’s not be naïve - his death paints a larger picture than liberty for Libya. Gaddafi supported militant organisations that held anti-Western views and President Obama said that his death sends a ‘strong message’ to dictators around the world. And then there is that ‘minor’ detail of oil; it is all too convenient. The Libyan people made their decision but pressure from the West pushed them to act on this decision without due process. Hardly democratic, is it?
February - March 2012 unleash
“A GOAL WIThOUT A
PLAN IS JUST A WISh”: hOW TO PLAN A CAMPAIGN By YAPA’s Leah Weber, who thinks that it takes only a few good ideas and a few good people to enact social change. So, you have an idea for creating social change – fantastic! But what do you do now? All too often great ideas are lost because of poor planning. But don’t be dismayed. There are lots of little hints and tips out there to help you coordinate your idea into action, and here’s a few to get you started. Nutting out the answers to the following questions posed by The Democracy Center (http://democracyctr.org/) is a good start. This will give you an idea of some of the considerations you need to make before getting your campaign off the ground. Taking the time to write it all down is really worth it. 1. What do we want? What are your goals and objectives? In an ideal world, what result are you after? What are your short-term objectives that will help you achieve your end result? 2. Who can give it to us? Who are the people or organisations that you need to influence in order to make change happen? Who can join you to create this influence? 3. What do they need to hear? Why is your goal important? How are you going to convince them that change is necessary? For more, check out the “Training Resources” section at www.thechangeagency.org. My most recommended reads are Problem Tree Analysis, Critical Path Analysis and Power Mapping. You can also jump on the YAPA website at www.yapa.org.au/youth/how for more good reads!
unleash February - March 2012
4. Who do they need to hear it from? Your message can have a very different impact depending on who is delivering it. It is best to have three types of messengers: experts, people that can talk from personal experience, and people with influence over politicians and decision-makers. 5. How do we get them to hear it? This may include either traditional methods (e.g. meetings and formal letters), or methods that are more innovative (e.g. social media campaigns, flash mobs etc). 6. What have we got? Make a list of what you already have. This can include lessons learnt from previous campaigns, advice from experts, connections, or anything else that you might have up your sleeve. You can use these things to build on. 7. What do we need to develop? Now that you know what you already have, make a list of the things that you need. 8. How do we begin? Take a look at the list you just made and decide where is the best place to start. 9. How will we know if it is (or isn’t) working? Evaluation is a fundamental step that is too often missed! It is pivotal to step back from time to time, and check if what you are doing is working. And be prepared to change your plans if it isn’t. Finally, as Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” so get planning people! If you need any extra help or just want to throw around some ideas, pop me an email at email@example.com
kEELIA kEELIAh’S fAMILY: ThE kINGSCLIff hIGh kOkOREk DANCE GROUP By YAPA’s Dean Williamson, who recently spoke with Keeliah from Indigenous Dance Group, Kokorek. I’m very lucky in that, as part of the different types of work I do, I get to travel and work with young people from all over NSW. While I was running a program with some young people in Tweed Heads (about as far north in NSW as you can get), I met Year 11 student Keeliah from Kingscliff High School, and had a chat about her involvement in Kokorek – a dance group that has been a major part of her life. “I’m part of the Kingscliff High Kokorek Dance Group, a schoolbased dance group for Indigenous kids from our school. Well, that’s how other kids see us anyway,” Keeliah explains. Slightly confused, I ask what she means by that. Keeliah continues that she doesn’t see it as merely a dance group, “We’re a family that goes way beyond just dance…we all care deeply about each other, and want what’s best for each other.” It is clear that the dance group is incredibly important to Keeliah, as she explains how much she appreciates the fact that she can talk honestly and openly with fellow members. Keeliah’s involvement in the group has helped her develop strong leadership skills, “I’ve become kind of like a big sister who is here when they need me…I am passionate about seeing them succeed.” When asked about how many young people are in the group and what kind of things the group works on, Keeliah responds thoughtfully, “It depends on the time of year. During NAIDOC
Week we get a lot more people involved, but there are usually about ten kids who are involved all year round. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of culturally based stuff. This includes dance and language - singing and talking in our local language.” Keeliah’s enthusiasm for the group is obvious, as I ask how she originally became involved. She passionately explains to me her strong desire to learn more about her Indigenous culture and identity. “I also wanted to be a role model to younger indigenous kids,” she says. “So, I went and saw my Aboriginal Education Officer, Rosina Beam…we call her Midge,” Keeliah smiles. “A lot of the way we run things and relate to each other has come from Midge. She’s really there for all of us; she’s like a mum. She doesn’t just turn up to be paid - she really cares. Midge suggested that I help two other students - Thomas and Tyarna - start up a dance group that hadn’t been running for a while.” Intrigued by the fact that Keeliah wants to be a role model for younger Indigenous kids, I ask whether she has a role model who currently inspires her. She nods, “A great dancer who was a part of our dance group before me, Thomas Kelly (who is now studying at NAISDA), is a role model for me… and has made me realise what an impact someone to look up to can have for kids.” I finally ask Keeliah if there is anything else she would like to share. She happily responds, “I’m really passionate
about what we do because some people have pretty negative feelings about Aboriginal kids. These kids are bright and deserve every opportunity, and I love seeing them grow and become better people, and be acknowledged for that.” February - March 2012 unleash
TUNE IN AND
TURN IT UP: LOUD! TRIBE By sixteen year old Dean Cvetkoski, who proves that you are never too young to start searching for your passion. LOUD! Tribe Project is a youth-based events committee that meets weekly to organise events for young people in the Fairfield Local Government Area (LGA). The aim of the project is to support local youth to engage in event management and to provide training and opportunities for young people to organise their own entertainment events. LOUD! Tribe also has a radio program that is part of an initiative to help solve the issue of a lack of recreational activities in the area, and is a positive way to draw upon the experiences and desires of young people. I started at LOUD! Tribe when I was thirteen. Three years on, I am the only remaining original member, as the others have moved on to join the workforce. LOUD! Tribe provided these members with many skills that proved crucial when entering the workforce. When I first started with LOUD! Tribe I thought that I wanted to join the Australian Defence Force, although I was still unsure. I soon discovered that my true passion lies in sound production and audio engineering. This was confirmed after being involved in a number of workshops and events held by LOUD! Tribe, which have provided me with valuable industry experience. Events are created around addressing issues faced by young people in the Fairfield LGA and provide opportunities for local musicians, artists and athletes to showcase their talents in a fun (and safe) environment. These events, which are all drug and alcohol free, include Exhibit 09, The Men’s Festival, Multicultural Day and Community Cares Day.
Being a part of LOUD! Tribe has given me the opportunity to have my voice heard within my local community and has allowed me to become involved in the organisation of events. It also lets me work with youth workers and event organisers to advise them what youth actually want, especially with regard to recreation within my local area.
unleash February - March 2012
Now in its third year, LOUD! radio broadcasts news and gossip on upcoming and past events, gigs and festivals coming to Fairfield. The radio program has not only made me realise my passion for hosting radio programs, but has also provided me with the ability to express my opinion - not just to the community or the state, but internationally as well! LOUD! Tribe has created a positive name for itself, and I have recently noticed that employers are now making an effort to find out what LOUD! Tribe is about. Having LOUD! Tribe on your résumé can look very good to future employers, especially because it is volunteer work, which is highly regarded. In my opinion, LOUD! Tribe has not only helped others by creating events that are informative and fun, but it has helped the members within it as well. It is like having a big family who looks out for each other. And we are always looking for eager new members - between the ages of twelve to twenty five who are willing to be part of a team and bring their fresh ideas! Meetings are held at the Prairiewood Youth and Community Centre on Restwell Road, opposite Stockland Mall. Hope to see you there!
For more information check out www.youtube.com/user/LOUDTribeProject and www.facebook.com/LOUDTRIBEPROJ
Tune in every Wednesday from 4 - 6pm to the community radio station 89.3fm 2glf to hear Dean and Cassandra play your favourite music, interview local bands and artists, talk about upcoming events and much more!
February - March 2012 unleash
INTERRUPTED: A STORY Of MELANChOLIC
DEPRESSION By seventeen year old Jessie Clare Cottle, who believes in the power of words to heal. She was anonymous…or so she believed. A villain. A prisoner. She could be classified or stereotyped many things, but really she was just a young woman trapped by false judgment. She was human. She was alive, though her mind told her many times that death could be an escape. This is the complex story into the depths of one’s soul. This is the story of a girl interrupted.
Deflated, she continued to confide in her Master, her only friend. Even in the brighter days the shadow of her Master would haunt her, playing games with her, menacingly dodging from corner to corner. She was fighting an internal war; chaos trapped inside her body’s fibre. She had become so delicate, as if she were made of porcelain.
She was as small as an ant, forever anxious that she would be attacked. She was sensitive and insecure. Her body - her shell shook with anxiety most days. She knew she was different - not at all like the people she saw on the train whom she sat beside, but could never talk to. She felt like a sad clown on the train: different, colourful, mysterious, unread and painfully conspicuous.
One day she wrote a letter and left it to hopefully one day be read:
The truth is that she was rotting, dying, melting. She was fighting a battle that she lived with everyday, and she was beginning to lose. Her skeletal frame was starting to give up. She was losing her sanity. The inner pain she felt was deep and real, like knives cutting flesh. She spun around and around in circles like an innocent child in a playground, yearning to break free, pushing the boundaries until suddenly unbalanced and hopelessly dizzy. She was desperate for answers… to find her identity. She knew that the answer would be her reason to live, so she spent every day searching - trying but always failing. Her inner voice, which she called her Master, would always tell her that she was useless. She was so desperate to find sunshine and happiness - to laugh and dance to music - but her Master told her that no one would understand her music, or feel like dancing with her.
My Master wrapped itself around me. It was bigger, stronger and more alive than I could ever be. Bit by bit it asphyxiated me, crushing me, its tendrils cracking my bones into a million pieces. I knew that I could never kill this vine of negativity, and so all I wanted was for it to let me die. But it had taken from me the energy I would have needed to kill myself. In the darkest corner of my bedroom, I prayed to a God that I never entirely believed in. I asked for deliverance. I would have been happy to die the most painful death, though I was too numb to conceptualize suicide. Every second of being alive hurt me. The thin, scribbled-on letter is fragile, much like the girl. It sits on her desk dangerously, like a piece of thread flimsily hanging from an expensive lace dress. It is carefully folded: different, colourful, mysterious, unread and painfully conspicuous. So the girl continues to suffer. She feels at home in her misery. She doesn’t know any differently.
To be featured in you(th) express, send a file of your drawing/painting/collage/ photography/poetry/rap/(anything!) to firstname.lastname@example.org
unleash February - March 2012
eheadspace eheadspace is a new confidential, free, anonymous, secure space where you can chat, email or speak with qualified youth mental health professionals if you are 12 to 25 years and: - want to chat about whatâ€™s going on in your life - need advice - are worried about your mental health or feeling depressed or anxious - are feeling isolated or alone - are worried about your drug and/or alcohol use - are worried about a friend or a family member - online support is available seven days a week from 1pm to 1am (AEST), you can email at anytime or you can call eheadspace from 10pm to 1pm (AEST). eheadspace.org.au or 1800 650 890 Other youth-friendly spaces: You can also or talk to a trusted health care professional or jump online and check out the following sites: REACHOUT http://au.reachout.com/ youth beyondblue www.youthbeyondblue.com
February - March 2012 unleash
my story “Now you practise your posh Australian accent,” the small brunette sings, in her thick Scottish accent. “How now brown cow?” her freckly companion gestures wildly. She curtseys. The two girls giggle as they weave their way along the paved streets and high brick walls of Falkirk, Scotland. Now 52, a smile plays on Eleanor Law’s lips as she recalls her ten year old self. In April 1969, Eleanor boarded her first plane, which would take her and her family to their new life in Australia, for the price of a t-shirt. With five children and five hundred dollars in their pocket, Eleanor’s family migrated to a small village on Sydney’s south-east, Kurnell. “I remember expecting to see koalas in the trees and kangaroos hopping around, just open bushland. I didn’t expect all these small communities,” says Eleanor in her now-Australian accent.
By nineteen year old Siobhan Graham, who believes that multiculturalism is something to embrace. Wear it. Own it.
“We used to practise our ‘posh’ Australian accents every day after school. So it took me about two years to lose my thick Scottish accent.” In preparation for their new start, Eleanor’s mother bought her and her siblings new outfits - a vain attempt at blending in. Little did she know that Australian fashion was a decade behind Britain at the time, and her outfit was laughed and jeered at by her peers. “We came here wanting to fit in and we just looked really odd because all our clothes were so different to theirs. They had round toed shoes, we had pointy shoes. They had long skirts, we had short skirts.” Even the daily routine of lunchtime at school was alien to Eleanor. Where Scottish students were sent home for lunch, Australian children were sent to school with a lunchbox full of vegemite sandwiches and fruit. She laughs at the memory of her first ‘Australian delicacy’, “The first time I had a bite of a vegemite sandwich I spat it out! It was disgusting!” Now very much pro-vegemite, her pantry is never without a jar of the salty black spread. Leaving an ocean between them and their lower class lifestyle in Falkirk - where jobs were scarce and children were many - it took only a week for her parents to find work in Australia. In fact, Eleanor’s father remained in his first job in Australia until the day he retired. The Laws were shocked to witness their peers throwing unwanted fruit in the bin; in Scotland, money was so scarce that children were only given fruit at Christmas time. She shakes her head and says, “I’d come home with a bag full of fruit every day. Mum would say, ‘You don’t need to do that… we can afford it here’.” Eleanor describes the first two years in Australia as the hardest, as the family was homesick in their new environment. But as the pining for her homeland subsided, Eleanor began to feel like she belonged in Australia. She was Scottish AND now she was Australian too. Hanging on the wall is a portrait of Eleanor, her husband - also a migrant - and three daughters. Her eyes crease at the corners as she smiles, “The best decision my parents ever made was to come to Australia. We left behind our life of squalor and welcomed a life of endless opportunities, not only for ourselves, but for our children also.”
unleash February - March 2012
unleash editor Erin sat down with nineteen year old Anna Page to talk candidly about cancer. Could you tell us a little bit about your experience with cancer? When I was nearly eleven years old, doctors found a large benign tumour located on the base of my spine. I had major surgery to remove it, but five years later an MRI scan revealed that my tumour had returned. I had another major surgery, and surgeons were confident that they had removed the entire tumour. Then, after a routine MRI scan in early 2008, I was told that my tumour had returned… but this time had grown back as an aggressive cancer. I had a few months of intense chemotherapy, followed by more major surgery. As a result, I sustained permanent nerve damage that has left me in constant pain, and after another routine scan in early 2009, I was told that my tumour was back again. Since then, specialists have decided to monitor it. At this stage my health is considered stable but ongoing.
ThINGS: bEING YOUNG AND LIvING WITh CANCER
How did you comprehend this diagnosis at such a young age? Because I was so young, I didn’t really understand it, so being so young when I first got sick probably worked in my favour. Cancer is the leading cause of death for Australians. Why do you think people still find it so difficult to talk about? When a friend or family member gets cancer, some people aren’t too sure how to react. I think people reflect on their own mortality when someone close to them gets cancer - even more so when it’s a young person. You mentioned on the AYAC website that cancer isn’t just about doom and gloom. What do you mean by this? Although getting cancer has been the most difficult thing that has happened to me, it has changed me as a person. My perspective on everything has changed and I have learnt some powerful lessons. How did you first get involved with Australian Youth Against Cancer (AYAC)? I first became involved with AYAC when I saw a story of [founder] Chris Boyd on television program RPA. I was instantly inspired by the fact that Chris had not only overcome cancer with such a positive attitude, but had also founded a cancer charity aimed at young people, which for me was extremely important. Chris founded AYAC after observing a distinct lack of support out there for young cancer sufferers. Do you think there is enough support out there for young people with cancer? No, there definitely isn’t. There seems to be a missing piece in the puzzle between the ages of 18-35. I think this is quite odd, because having cancer as a young person can disrupt your life at the crucial moment when the person is trying to figure out their future. How important has it been for you to connect with other young people going through similar experiences? Extremely important. My friends have always been there for me, but meeting and talking with other cancer patients makes me feel more at ease - knowing that they fully understand what I’m talking about. How many wigs do you have? Can you describe your favourite one? Ooh I like this question! I have three wigs! My favourite one would have to be my long curly wig, because I wore it to my year 12 formal and it was just so realistic looking! I had so many people come up to me that night and say, “Wow Anna, your hair has grown so quickly!” But I’m happy to say that I no longer need my wigs. What advice would you give other young people with cancer? Obviously there is no right or wrong way to react or feel about a cancer diagnosis. It is important to remain positive, but remember that feeling anxious and scared is also completely normal, so don’t ignore those feelings either. My main piece of advice would be: you are stronger than cancer. What’s the plan for the future? My plan for the future is to complete my Certificate 3 in Childcare and hopefully further my studies. Most importantly, my main priority for the future is to stay as healthy as possible, be happy and to live life to its fullest potential. Check out the AYAC website www.australianyouthagainstcancer.org.au February - March 2012 unleash
A CHANGE By seventeen year old Paulina Kruminaite, who believes in the power of language and thought to enact social change. Peace, along with similar progressive goals, is integral to humanity’s survival. The struggle for peace begins in our youth, as we begin to learn right from wrong, good from bad, mediation from violence. Indeed, such themes are embedded in the Sydney Peace Prize Foundation, this year in its 11th running, which encourages humanity to seek peace with justice. The Sydney Peace Foundation is Australia’s only international prize for peace. The 2011 recipient was Professor Noam Chomsky – a distinguished American linguist, social scientist and human rights campaigner. In receiving the Prize, Chomsky joins previous recipients Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Arundhati Roy, Sir William Deane and former Secretary General of Amnesty International Irene Khan.
In his Peace Prize Lecture, Chomsky discussed significant historical events, highlighting the erosion of civil liberties that has resulted from unjust political and military decisions that too often accept violence as a legitimate means of conflict resolution.
The role of the future generation then, is to transform approaches to conflict through alternatives means, with language at the core of this transformation. This dialogue will create a respectful environment for humanity. While individuals often respond to conflict using violence, this does not mean that human beings are inherently violent by nature. In 1986, a group of scientists produced the ‘Seville Statement on Violence’, which dispelled the myth that human beings are inevitably disposed to war as a result of innate, biologically determined, aggressive traits. It purported that, ‘It is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behaviour is genetically programmed into our human nature, inherited from our animal ancestors’. This principle has since gained worldwide acceptance. Peace-building and conflict resolution can only be possible if our future orientations focus on reconciliation and peace, with nonviolent conflict resolution and a promotion of human rights.
This comes with ramifications to humanity’s intellectual and moral culture. Many become traumatized victims of conflict, while young people are tested with their first taste of violence and war.
As Professor Noam Chomsky said in his Sydney Peace Prize Lecture, “One cannot be a pacifist without being a revolutionary”; revolution begins in transforming our ways of thinking.
Young people are in an important period of physical, mental and social maturation - a stage of forming identities and determining acceptable roles for themselves in both their community and society as a whole. Violence disrupts this process of maturation and affects young people’s physical and psychological health.
For youth it’s integral to shift towards alternative means for conflict resolution - beyond violence and towards peace. Thinking is a means of activism, and I urge my fellow youth to be critical of events around the world, especially those involving violent conflict, which has profound consequences in shaping the future generation.
Conflict may be seen as a natural process - an inevitable part of life and relationships – ‘paving the way’ for human and social development. However, conflict is often paired with violence that oppresses, destroys and hinders this development. As sociologist Johan Galtung stated, “Conflict is a complex human phenomenon and should by no means be confused with violence.”
The struggle for peace is important for our generation, who will be living in an increasingly globalised society. The role of youth in peace-building is to take the lead in shaping the future.
unleash February - March 2012
As President John F Kennedy once said, “We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world.”
SEE IT” By eighteen year old Andrew Cureton, whose works were on display at the as eye see It exhibition in sydney. On October 25, 2011, the first as eye see It photography exhibition was held at the Tap Gallery in Darlinghurst, Sydney. There were fifty young entrants (including myself) from a diverse range of backgrounds but with one thing in common: they are all in out-ofhome-care. The young people were provided with cameras with which they were to take five black and white photos that showcased what was important to them. Alongside each of the photos was a statement that helped convey the artist’s personal rationale for the chosen images.
The exhibition provided young people in out-of-home-care the opportunity to express themselves through the lens. The public was given the chance to gain a personal insight into the ways young people in out-of-homecare see and experience their life in care. For me, the exhibition allowed me to show others my world ‘as eye see it’. Sixteen year old Angel wrote, “My foster family are not my ‘foster’ family or guardians at all. They do everything a true family does… They have made me the person I am today, and without them, I wouldn’t be who I am now.” Thirteen year old Brooke noted, “It made me feel happy when I took these pictures and happy to see that I have achieved something like this, because I haven’t done anything like this before and I am proud.” When taking these pictures I hung onto the idea of how come I’ve come as a person, from the age of six to eighteen. I have spent twelve years of my life in care - a total of twenty-two different placements. The images that I have captured represent the lessons that I have learned in life. I would like to offer a special thank you to Rhonda Nohra, Life Without Barriers Case Manager, for the coordination of the exhibition on LWB’s behalf, as well as our case managers and clinicians who supported and encouraged us to create these insightful works of art.
February - March 2012 unleash
what’s YAPA up to?
Simran unleashed By Year 10 Work Experience Student Simran Hingorani, who unleashed her inner journalist…and loved it!
YAPA publishes unleash, but we do other stuff too. In each unleash we outline something that has been keeping YAPA staff busy. (For the official what is YAPA spiel, go to yapa.org.au/yapa).
For the past five days I have had the pleasure of conducting my Year 10 Work Experience with the wonderful YAPA team at unleash magazine. To say it has been an incredible learning experience is a huge understatement! I’ve learnt how to write an article concisely and with fluidity, how to edit an article (which is really not as easy as it sounds), and how to effectively research for article content. Even though I learnt so much and feel much more experienced, I feel as though I have gained the most just by spending time with the YAPA team. Individually, each team member is so unique (and opinionated!) that collectively, they become an incredibly cohesive team with endless ideas and inspiration. There were times that I felt as though I was learning things just by listening to their intellectual (and sometimes not so intellectual) discussions! I have thoroughly enjoyed my work experience at YAPA and would love to come back on board as part of the team someday. I highly encourage anyone who has even the slightest interest in journalism to volunteer at unleash, I have no doubt that they will be able to turn your interest into a passion.
NSW Plans for Young People By YAPA’s Dean Williamson, who spells out the government’s future targets that will affect young people in NSW. The NSW government just released NSW 2021: A Plan to Make NSW Number 1 (the Plan), which sets priorities for the state government over a ten year period. It includes some interesting priorities and targets that will affect young people: Young People at School and In Training If this government were the Melbourne Cup, this horse would be the favourite! The government has made very little secret that its main priority for young people is getting and/or keeping them in education and training. It wants to see more Year 9 students in NSW at or above the minimum standard for literacy and numeracy. It also wants to see NSW students doing better than the national average in the NAPLAN test. By 2015, the Plan hopes that 90% of all 20-24 year olds will have completed Year 12, or will hold a minimum Certificate II. By 2020, the government want this to be at least a Certificate III, especially for rural young people. In a nice step, the Plan pledges support for the learning needs of students with a disability. It outlines that 60% of students with a disability will have a personalised learning and support plan by 2020. Young Drivers We’re not too sure where this comes from (considering the government pledged to cut the 120 hours for learners as a step), but the Plan promises to introduce a Safe Drivers course for learner drivers, with the curriculum to be developed by a board of road safety experts.
unleash February - March 2012
Young, um, Eaters? It seems we’re all enjoying a few too many burgers for the government’s liking, so it would like to see us all slim up! It wants to reduce the obesity rates of children and young people (5-16) by 21% by 2015 – some would say a ‘big’ task… Young Offenders The government has committed to reducing juvenile re-offending by 5% by 2016. What it all means for young people As with everything, the devil is in the detail! There will be all kinds of big, official ‘plans’ that will flesh out exactly how these goals are to be achieved. YAPA will be involved in as much of this process as possible, and will be advocating for young people to be involved in the making of the plans. If you have any good ideas for how some of these things could be achieved, you can email me on email@example.com,au, or head over to our Facebook page and post them up!
wealth / power / fame / glory
competitions… grants… surveys… leadership…
Outburst! Are you interested in how government decisions affect young people? Do you want young people to have a voice on the issues that are important to them? If you are a young person aged 12 – 25 who is living, working or studying in Western Sydney, then Outburst! The Western Sydney Youth Forum is the place for you! Applications are open to join the 2012 Outburst! team. We meet once a month in Parramatta, and this year our main focus will be on improving the image of young people from Western Sydney - both within the community and in the media. As well as that, there’ll be other opportunities to go along to forums, consultations, meetings and events; getting the word out about how awesome Western Sydney young people are!
Young Noise Young Noise is an independent group with a mission to involve young people in public policy. Run by youth, for youth, Young Noise gives young people the opportunity to express their own opinion on issues that are important to them and to offer ideas and solutions for these issues. Our vision is for a nation that seeks and embraces the ideas of young people. We aim to help create a society where young people advise and are consulted on national issues of broad community concern. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.youngnoise.org.au
For more info and to download the application form, email Leah at email@example.com or check out our facebook page www.facebook.com/outburstwestsyd
How important are best friends for young people’s health? La Trobe University wants to find out more about the importance of friendship networks for young people’s social lives and wellbeing, and is looking for young people to participate in an online survey. The survey asks young people between 18 and 29 years of age about their closest friendships and best mates. How many best friends do they have? What secrets do they share? Researchers are asking people to tell their stories to help make a difference to others in order to understand how friendships impact on young people’s wellbeing. The survey takes 10 - 15 minutes to complete and is anonymous. Contact: Dr Marisa Schlichthorst, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University (03) 9285 5169 or M.Schlichthorst@latrobe.edu.au. www.demographix.com/surveys/N5FZ-LWS6/WEWYR3BQ/ or click the link at www.yapa.org.au/youth/opportunities.php
Young People Without Borders Young People Without Borders is a new rite of passage for young Australians. It is a journey of discovery, culminating in a gap year overseas where you will become a volunteer and experience life beyond your borders, develop different perspectives, learn new skills, grow in confidence and independence as well as make new friends from home and abroad. You will become part of a network of young people just like you – young people who have a sense of adventure and the courage, imagination and will to make a difference. Placements are available for 17 to 19 year olds. More: www.fya.org.au/initiatives/youngpeoplewithoutborders
February - March 2012 unleash
COUNTRY By Erin Fouracre, unleash editor.
I still remember the first time I walked through Lakemba, on my way to Jasmine Lebanese Restaurant. Located in South-Western Sydney, Lakemba is known for its rich cultural diversity and large Arab population. Haldon Street is pitted with colour: vibrantly adorned Egyptian patisseries, African hair-braiding salons and musty secondhand bookshops. Women dressed in burqas carry grocery bags bursting with fresh fruit and vegies, while men huddle in hushed conversation, smoking their hookahs. It’s incredible. This suburb has its own scent; aromatic Asian grocery stores exude cinnamon and paprika, masked only by the odd crack of a car’s exhaust as it doof-doofs past. And that’s what so great about our country. One week you can plan a day trip to the ‘Little Italy’ of Leichardt, the next to Cabramatta, or ‘Little Asia’ as it is affectionately called. Located just forty-five minutes from each other, each of these suburbs is a very distinct cultural world, influenced by millennia of cultural evolution. In this edition’s ‘Multiculturalism’ themed unleash, we pose the following question: “We know that Australia is a multicultural country, but in light of the recent asylum seeker debate, is it a welcoming country?” You can check out your answers on page 3. Also, Siobhan shares with us the story of her mother’s migration to Australia (page 12), Candice questions whether the death of Gaddafi was democratic (page 5), YAPA’s Dean speaks with Keeliah from Indigenous Dance Group Kokorek (page 7) and Paulina reviews a talk by 2011 Sydney Peace Prize recipient, Noam Chomsky (page 14). Enjoy!
Erin Congratulations to Siobhan Graham, whose insightful article on her mother’s migration to Australia earned her a $50 gift voucher for the store of her choice!
unleash February - March 2012
If you would like to contribute to unleash, or just want to say hi, email Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org
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February - March 2012 unleash
unleash February - March 2012