Study Human Rights at Curtin and become a great human being

The saddest memory for me growing up was when I started high school and my brother told me that it would be better if I just didn’t tell people that he was my brother because he was actually experiencing pretty significant bullying and he was even being beaten up. My brother is dark-skinned because my family’s Indian. I saw that he experienced racism that I didn’t experience as someone who presents as white. Working with groups that don’t have a voice is the best place for me. And working with them as groups, as opposed to as individuals, so trying to get their voice heard at a systemic level. For me it was about long-term outcomes for people. So immediately a large group of people with disabilities sitting in a room is not going to achieve any long-term outcomes. And so you know the thinking around all of the work that me and the team did was around, how do we make it so that these people don’t need us anymore? How do we make it so that we don’t exist? Because these people are functioning in society just the same as everyone else. Because having done an undergraduate Psychology degree, it’s kind of hammered into you that if you get in to a Psych Masters that you should feel privileged and honoured to have gotten into that. After the first year of doing it, really realised, something that I probably knew in the back of my mind, that counseling is not what I’m for. I pulled out and reapplied for the Human Rights program and it’s the best thing I ever did. I think everybody in the course comes from really different academic backgrounds. Everybody has issues that they feel personally connected to that are quite different. But everybody has this real kind of sense of, you know this real feeling of social justice. When you say activism, people think of things like you know the fist waving, the angry conversations, protest marches. I think those things all have their place, but to really make a difference at a systemic level, it’s about discourse and education. While I was working for UnitingCare West I became involved with the US Consulate. They had started to take a really active role in bringing together LGBTI organisations in Perth. Some of the staff from there asked me if I would be happy to be put forward for a program around LGBTI rights in a developed society. I still can’t even describe how overwhelming the whole thing is and was and I’m still really benefiting from the connections that I made over there and some of the experiences I had. This is not just about becoming an activist when you grow up. It’s about being a good human being, it’s about understanding difference, diversity. And also about understanding you know what you can do as an individual to make a difference in the human rights space.


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