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Light skin coloured hand holding a sign that says 'SCHOOLS'.

Now that we’ve done some learning in YOU, we can use our knowledge to activate change in our schools!

Systemic issues as large as racism can be overwhelming to think about, especially as we start wondering how we as young people can spark change.

Digital illustratino of red flowers with curved stems sitting on a green textured background. The words 'Educate Yourself', 'Be Brave', 'and Speak Up' are written on the flower stems.

Activists search for the truth and then speak the truth. The best thing that you can do in this world, is believe in yourself and blossom. When people blossom, they become confident and successful.

- Jessica Clarke / @Muthi.Tidda

Digital illustration of a pot plant. The leaves on the plant are in text that says 'Let's Grow Together'.

Which spaces can we begin influencing? Which spaces are we welcome in the first place?

Well, transforming the spaces you have to be in for 200 days a year is a good place to start.

If you are reading this, chances are you are a leader within your school community - be it a prefect, a student representative council member, school captain, or a member of a social justice committee.

First of all - congratulations!
You have an exciting year ahead of you.

Second of all - never underestimate how much of an impact you can have.

Within a student leadership body, it’s very easy to lose steam or craft plans that don’t meaningfully impact the school community as much as they could.

Don’t be afraid to dream big, and take this opportunity to truly make a mark on your school community. As a young person, you certainly have the power to influence other youth and change the conversation surrounding race. This section of the Anti-Racism Kit aims to help you achieve that.

Here’s how to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-racism strategies, which can generally inform how you can foster anti-racism within your school community.

Effective anti-racism strategies:


Seek to eliminate false beliefs by providing accurate information.


Avoid ‘one-way’ communication: giving people the opportunity to contribute their views makes them more likely to engage with the topic.


Provide the practical skills to empower people to speak out against racism, and set a ‘new normal’ where racism is not tolerated.


Invoke empathy for others.


Incorporate long-term strategies: This means initially emphasising similarities between different groups, and then emphasising diversity and plurality.


Focus on changing racist behaviours than attitudes - the former is more achievable, and can lead to changes in attitude


Develop long-term plans rather than one-shot interventions. Change takes time.

However, the best possible strategy for combating racism is multi-faceted, and tailored to the specific community it targets. A ‘one-size fits all’ program doesn’t generate as much success.

We offer several starting points and templates you can mold to your own community’s characteristics and needs.

Digital illustration of a person kicking the word 'Racism' in the shape of a boxing bag. The person is wearing boxing gloves and has pink hair.

Barriers to Leadership

Have you ever been restricted within or barred from a leadership position because of your racial background or the issues you care about? 

Prejudicial attitudes and behaviours like these can begin in schools and then flow into the workplace.

In 2018, a study put together by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that 97% of CEOs and Executives within Australia were European or Anglo-Celtic. This itself shows that we have a huge problem regarding diverse leadership, as a country. So how do we stop these attitudes right from school?

1. Be yourself

Firstly, if you are in a leadership position in your school, know that this portfolio is your own to build. It is important to note that leadership does not involve being someone you are not.

Do not try to change yourself to fit a stereotype of who a “good leader” is, and don’t suppress yourself from talking about issues you are passionate about because it may not be palatable. Don’t compromise your own values.

As writer Reni Eddo Lodge points out in her book, “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race”, the trope of the “angry Black girl” is one which many perceive women of colour in leadership positions to be, and tropes like these wrongfully hinder people of colour from exploring sensitive issues which are perceived as “taboo”.

Never change yourself, rather change the system.

2. Do not be afraid to call out discrimination

If you feel that you have been wronged by your school by not being selected for a position, or prevented from leading a project despite being qualified, it is ok to point this out.

Most schools are unaware of their prejudice, and would gladly listen to what you have to say.

These institutions often want to better themselves, so pointing out when something is inherently unfair helps them rethink their beliefs, ways of doing things, and image.

Don’t underestimate the power you have when it comes to calling out structural discrimination in leadership.

3. Do not be a bystander

If you know someone who was wronged by your school and was not given a position they should have due to issues such as race, build the confidence to stand up for them.

Whether this means talking to your friend and assuring them of your support or making an appointment to speak to a teacher to explain your thoughts, feel free to take action!

Show that person that you care about them by voicing your own thoughts. Many victims of structural discrimination will feel more empowered if they know there are also others standing with and supporting them.


Discussions are a simple, powerful way to challenge people’s biases and change their outlook on racism and discrimination. It creates a space where people can openly share their perspectives and experiences.

Even if you’re not able to see each other, you can conduct these discussions online through platforms such as Zoom or Gatheround.

A digital illustration of a laptop with 6 tiles on the screen of people having a virtual conversation. The people are a mix of white, brown, black skin colours and one person wears a hijab.

Important things to be aware of when running discussions:

The Goals of the Discussion:

  • Learn from each other’s experiences: everyone experiences racism differently
  • Reflect on your behaviours and biases
  • Identify problems and what we can do to tackle them

Some Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Be willing to make mistakes
    Anti-racist action is defined by its complexities and it often won’t be easy!
  • Be willing to forgive
    Be kind to yourself and others through this learning journey for all. We will all slip up, but it is how we respond to those mistakes that is far more important.
  • Don’t be tokenistic
    Do not include a person of colour, but then not give them the opportunity to participate or influence the event in a meaningful way. For example, you should invite an elder in the community to do a Welcome to Country, but don’t ask any First Nation’s person in your group to do a Welcome or Acknowledgement.
  • Don’t refer to racial stereotypes
  • Use clear and simple language
    For many people of colour, English could be an additional language that they are still learning.
  • Look at your engagement with people of colour
    If First Nations people and people of colour aren’t getting involved or don’t seem interested, take a look at how it works because there is probably a reason this is the case. It’s important that these spaces are meaningfully inclusive and empowering to people of colour.

As a facillitator:

Encourage participation and allow open and honest discussion about personal experiences and anti-racism strategies. Here are some additional tips: 

  • Ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute
  • Use respectful and inclusive language
  • Listen actively
  • Summarise contributions and draw out similarities and differences without oversimplifying
  • Manage time and re-focus the discussion if it goes off-topic. 
  • Facilitate or the conversation with at least one person who has lived experience of racism.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable:

The Goals of the Discussion:

  • Learn from each other’s experiences: everyone experiences racism differently
  • Reflect on your behaviours and biases
  • Identify problems and what we can do to tackle them

Important things to be aware of when running discussions:

Yarning Circle
The goals
  • Learn from each other’s experiences: everyone experiences racism differently
  • Reflect on your behaviours and biases
  • Identify problems and what we can do to tackle them
Things to keep in mind
  • Be willing to make mistakes
    Anti-racist action is defined by its complexities and it often won’t be easy!
  • Be willing to forgive
    Be kind to yourself and others through this learning journey for all. We will all slip up, but it is how we respond to those mistakes that is far more important.
  • Don’t be tokenistic
    Do not include a person of colour, but then not give them the opportunity to participate or influence the event in a meaningful way. For example, you should invite an elder in the community to do a Welcome to Country, but don’t ask any First Nation’s person in your group to do a Welcome or Acknowledgement.
  • Don’t refer to racial stereotypes
  • Use clear and simple language
    For many people of colour, English could be an additional language that they are still learning.
  • Look at your engagement with people of colour
    If First Nations people and people of colour aren’t getting involved or don’t seem interested, take a look at how it works because there is probably a reason this is the case. It’s important that these spaces are meaningfully inclusive and empowering to people of colour.
As a facilitator
  • Encourage participation and allow open and honest discussion about personal experiences and anti-racism strategies. Here are some additional tips: 
  • Ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute
  • Use respectful and inclusive language
  • Listen actively
  • Summarise contributions and draw out similarities and differences without oversimplifying
  • Manage time and re-focus the discussion if it goes off-topic. 
  • Facilitate or the conversation with at least one person who has lived experience of racism.
Be comfortable being uncomfortable

To discuss issues surrounding racism, we need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. This involves dealing with our own fears and working through our beliefs carefully. As a facilitator, it can be especially nerve-wracking to speak up. However, your opinion matters. You play an important part in creating a secure environment where everyone feels comfortable to share their story. 

Consider the following statements and select the one that best describes how you feel when it comes to talking about racism...

  • I would rather not talk
  • I am very uncomfortable 
  • I am usually uncomfortable 
  • I am sometimes uncomfortable
  • I am usually comfortable 
  • I am very comfortable

Then finishing the following two sentences:

  • The hard parts of talking about racism are…
  • The benefits in talking about racism are …

After this reflection, do the following to remove some of the discomfort:

  • Clarify any terminology that’s going to be used within this conversation
  • Consider your own identity
  • Evaluate your comfort level with different topics
  • Figure out what’s holding you back

For more detail on becoming more comfortable in talking about racism, read this link.

A Step-by-Step Guide on having a Conversation About Race

An Acknowledgement of Country is critical.

The land and the people that belong to it should be acknowledged together.

People can do training on how to do acknowledgements or speak with the local community on how to make it meaningful and not tokenistic.

The traditional First Nations custodians of the land must be recognised before any event that seeks to advance racial equality.

The following is a common example in Australia:

“I would like to acknowledge that this meeting is being held on the traditional lands of the [appropriate group] people of the [name of Aboriginal nation] nation, and pay my respect to Elders both past, present and future.”

The intention of the diversity welcome is to foster an inclusive environment. It can be long or short. The more detailed it is, the more participants are likely to feel welcome.

It is a ritual, so don't be bothered by the repetitive phrasing. Take your time with it!

The following is simply an example. 

I'd like to welcome OR welcome to...

  • People of all genders 
  • Languages spoken here (try to know as many ahead of time or ask people to name them):
  • Specifically name cities/states/provinces/countries represented (depending on the group)
  • People with disabilities, visible or invisible 
  • LGBTQI+ people
  • People who identify as activists, and people who don't 
  • People of African descent, Aboriginal descent, Asian descent, Arab descent, European descent, Latino, and mixed descent. 

Establishing ground rules is crucial, and you should invite participants to suggest their own rules. Some rules include:

  • Actively listen to others
  • Don’t assume you have all the answers
  • Keep any personal stories shared in the conversation private
  • Do not tolerate openly offensive comments 
  • Keep all phones switched off or put away. Going on your phone can be particularly disrespectful to those who are sharing personal stories and experiences.

As a facilitator, you should assure participants it’s ok to leave the conversation if they need to.

  • However, clarify that if this discomfort comes from a sense of defensiveness, they should view it as something natural and exciting! It means they’re being challenged to understand something new.
  • This is different from a person of colour feeling triggered or uncomfortable.

You may also acknowledge the following for a more meaningful and open discussion. 

  • Affirm that the session is not intended to be about making people feel guilty or ashamed. However, recognise that discomfort is perfectly natural, and it is usually a part of any productive conversation about race and racism. It is a reminder for participants of their privilege and power, asking them to stand in solidarity with people of colour to help dismantle oppressive racist structures. The important thing is that participants actively listen and are open to ideas. 
  • Ask those who express that they haven’t experienced racism in their lives to critically consider their position. Ask them to think about what contributions they can usefully make, and what is best left to others, before contributing.
Next, ask participants to introduce themselves and briefly share with the group what they are hoping to get out of the discussion.

Now that we’ve welcomed everyone and established the ground rules, we can begin the formal conversation! This conversation is important firstly as an opportunity to understand racism and secondly to fight racism. It can be ambitious to do both, so you can just choose one as well.

You could open the floor to personal stories of your peers where they have experienced racism at your high school, or had an experience at your high school that made them consider the effect of racism. Potential questions:

  • What personal experiences have you experienced with racism? What about at high school specifically? How did they make you feel?
  • What’s something about racism that you are too embarrassed to ask?
  • What’s the worst thing about being a victim of racial harassment?
  • Has anyone told you about their experiences with racism before? How did that make you feel?
  • Do you think people are comfortable talking about race or stating something is ‘racist’?
  • Are you comfortable standing up against racism?
  • Are there any school policies or practices that could be non inclusive? 
  • How do you think racism affects people of colour? 
  • Why does racism continue?

You could also introduce people to the concept of racism not only being interpersonal, but also institutional by raising questions and prompting participants to connect interpersonal racism to the bigger picture of social issues. Potential questions:

  • Is racism just interpersonal? Or is it something more?
  • What are some ways racism can go beyond a racial slur or overt act of discrimination?
  • How is it that White people occupy the vast majority of leadership positions in our society? 
  • How have gaps between White people and people of colour remained entrenched everywhere around the world?
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are oppressed in Australia. This can be seen through large deficits in education, life expectancy, and median income with the remainder of Australia. Is this another instance of racism? How are these issues connected?
  • Think about the language and rhetoric surrounding refugees - in what way can this conversation become racist?
  • Are there any recent current events that are linked to racism?
  • What does anti-racism mean? What should it strive for?
  • What are some ways I could continue to be racist in the way I act in a non-interpersonal way?

You can encourage participants to think about how they can combat racism both in high schools and in society - exactly like the second and third section of this kit! In fact, referring participants to the Anti-Racism Kit after the discussion can encourage them to translate their knowledge and emotions into action.

In schools, brainstorm ideas to fight racism in your particular school community. Discuss questions like:

  • How do we as young people shape the conversation around racism?
  • What would be the best way to bring up racism and raise awareness among our friends and peers?
  • How would we fight racism in a way that’s effective for our school community?
  • How will we communicate our concerns to the school if race seems to be a barrier in school leadership? What concerns do we have?
  • If somebody gave an assembly speech on racism, what would we hope to hear or have included?
  • What would be the benefits of doing an anti-racism event for local schools and student leaders? What would we discuss?

In society, discuss questions such as:

  • How do we learn and teach others about refugee rights?
  • How can we share with others our knowledge of institutional racism?
  • How do we campaign for refugee rights? What are the best ways for us to do this as students? 
  • What are some choices in our life that we can make so that we can help support the lives of refugees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • How much should we give to causes that advocate for racial justice?
  • How can we use our school clubs and other resources to stand for these issues?
  • What are some creative solutions or work that we can do?
  • How can we set up a petition club to appeal to our elected representatives about the issues facing people of colour?

One of the greatest fears people often have leading discussions like these is that there will be serious conflict, and they won't be able to handle it. That's why it's important to prevent these situations from happening in the first place, and then dealing with them well when they do.

The LARA method builds respect and common ground, allowing the group to explore differences more openly and honestly. LARA is especially useful when people feel that their hot buttons have been triggered.

L: Listen with your heart

  • Make your goal to learn what the speaker thinks and feels, not to change what they think and feel. Approach every conversation with an open mind.
  • Try to understand what other speakers have stated at their best
  • Pay special attention to the speaker’s feelings
  • Aim to understand what the speaker’s intent beyond the literal meaning of what they’re saying

A: Affirm with sensitivity

Affirm a feeling or value that you share with the speaker. This not only makes the person feel heard and understood, but also builds common ground. To do this, use phrases like:

  • “What I hear you saying is…”
  • “I sense that you feel…”
  • “It seems like you feel…”

Examples of shared values affirmations include 

  • “Yeah, I can see we both want to do what is right”
  • “I appreciate your honesty”

R: Respond with respect

Respond directly to the speaker’s concerns or questions. You may often hear debaters and politicians “talk past” a speaker to control the conversation and deliver their talking points. But to sincerely explore your differences, you need to show respect by taking the speaker’s concerns seriously and addressing them directly. 

In responding to the speaker, don’t label or attack them. Also, don’t portray your opinions as universal truths or facts. Instead, use “I-statements” to frame your responses. This means you need to say: I feel, I believe, I think, I read, I learned in school and so-on. 

Consider these good vs. bad responses below: 

  • “I’ve read many scientific studies suggesting that race is a social construct, not a biological fact” vs. “Science shows race is a myth, and anyone who doesn’t believe this is simply ignorant”
  • “When you say that women are inferior, I feel angry” vs. “You are sexist.”

A: Ask Questions with Intent to Learn

Ask questions or add information. Open-ended questions help you gain a better understanding of the other person’s perspective. They also demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in an exchange of information, and not just working to win your point. For example: 

  • “How did that make you feel?”
  • “What might have caused you to react that way?”
  • “How did you reach that conclusion?”

When there is about 15 minutes left in the session, start to wrap up by: 

  • Asking people to name one thing they found useful/helpful, and one thing they will do now to challenge racism
  • Reminding the group that this conversation about racism should not be the last conversation that they should have
  • Affirming the importance and seriousness of tackling racism
  • Reminding participants of your school’s formal complaint processes for racism

After the discussion, circulate a short online survey to give people an opportunity to provide further feedback and comments that they may not have felt comfortable sharing in front of everyone. Survey responses should be made anonymous to encourage honest and open feedback. Debrief afterwards about the successes/shortcomings of the discussion with other facilitators. Here is a sample Student Questionnaire, and a Teacher Questionnaire.

1. Diversity Interviews: This activity enables marginalised groups or individuals to share what’s happening for them and participate more fully in a workshop or work setting, and supports their empowerment, enabling the mainstream to become aware and change its behaviour.

2. Culture Sharing: Each participant shares 3 Strengths and 1 Concern of your culture. Through this, cultural diversity is acknowledged in the classroom. Each participant can identify their cultural perspective and share it with others.

We have collated a list of Sample Discussions and Other Materials that you can view here:

Speaking at Assembly

You’ve chosen to do a speech - awesome! Public speaking’s something a lot of people tend to avoid, and understandably so - it puts you in a position where you can be very open and vulnerable, but it’s for that reason that people really connect with what you say. A great speech has the potential to trigger reflection and action.

How do you begin?

A digital graphic of a big star and sparkles. It is baby pink, white and blue. 'Spark Change' is written next to it.

Finding the Right Tone and Message

This is a concern that a lot of people understandably have. Racism is multifaceted, and a sensitive topic for many; people don't want to sound preachy, but they also want to address the weight of the issue. Because of that, it can be hard to figure out the message we want to deliver, and how we can best convey it.

To narrow things down, you can start by examining your audience: your school community. By taking a closer look, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to realise the message your community needs to hear and what you’re really trying to achieve.

Ask yourself these questions:

What issues are they facing at the moment?
What are the things they are already familiar with? Can you enrich their understanding even further?
What do they not know about but should?
Which issues does your community often talk about, and which issues do they avoid?

Topical Events

These are a worthwhile option for discussion. Events such as:

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 Mar), NAIDOC Week (first week of July), World Refugee Day (20 Aug).

Also relevant are rising trends in society (e.g. Islamophobia after terrorist attacks, Covid-19 and Asian discrimination).

Above all, have authenticity. Think back to the times you’ve been part of an audience for a great speech. Chances are the most memorable speeches were the ones that felt real. They were the ones about things they’re genuinely passionate about, or about lived experiences that you might have not considered before.

You can view your assembly speech as an opportunity for storytelling. You know your experiences better than anyone. If you feel safe and comfortable with sharing your past experiences, then incorporating that within your speech can really help you connect with your audience.

However, there’s no rule that says you can’t speak about things you haven’t personally experienced! It’s like saying able-bodied people can’t talk about disability rights, or men can’t talk about issues faced by women or nonbinary people. In fact, it can be great to use your privilege to discuss topics that may not easily reach the platforms you can access. Just keep in mind that: You should put more care into researching those issues and how to appropriately communicate them.

In the end, there are some stories that just aren’t for us to tell, even if we care about them very much. It’s important to be empathetic, as there may be experiences and stories that may be deeply personal to the people we want to support, and they may not want them to be retold. In fact, you can offer your platform to the voices of others by perhaps playing a video or reading a portion of their article.

Avoid writing from a deficit model for marginalised groups. For example, do not claim that “Black people can’t get jobs”, instead explain that employers exclude and discount great Black applicants. Do not act as the “White saviour” while doing so either.

That’s right. For a lot of people, the pressure of finishing something great can inhibit them. It can stop them from exploring other avenues because they might feel unconventional or risky. Give yourself permission to write rubbish. Jot down all the ideas, lines and material you can think of.

Your main goal is to give yourself everything you could potentially work with. Doesn’t matter if it seems all over the place at the end - it’s always easier to edit something than nothing.

Opening: Engage with your audience, and introduce the main message you’ll be talking about here! There’s no right way to open a speech. Some people opt for a little-known fact while others could share a personal experience or analogy. Go with whatever you’re comfortable with.

Body: Expand on the points you want to discuss, which will flesh out into your main message.

Conclusion: Summarise your points, making sure to emphasise your main message here. Even better, give a call to action! If you plan to start off with an analogy or an anecdote, you can also call back to your opening to add cohesion.

It’s better to write something short and sweet; the longer the speech is, the harder it’ll be to maintain people’s attention.

Write for the spoken word, not the written word. The way we speak is completely different to the way we’re encouraged to write in the classroom. Save the big words and flowery language for HSC English – they’ll be more useful there than they will be here. Write naturally, and as simply as possible. If it doesn’t sound like something you would actually say, rewrite it. Don’t forget to write at an appropriate level of formality. You likely have a wide age range to cater for, with students as young as 11 to the adult staff members supervising the assembly.

A common misconception is that humour is necessary for a good speech. It really isn’t. Humour usually works because the speaker’s comfortable and at ease with where they are and what they’re going to say. That’s why it’s important to ultimately aim for authenticity, since that’s what actually draws the audience’s attention. You speak best when you know what you’re talking about.

Awesome - first draft down! When you start the editing phase, it’s crucial to read your speech out loud. After all, your audience will be hearing the speech, not reading it. It also helps you detect the errors you can easily miss when you skim through it, and gets you thinking about the delivery of your speech. Grab a friend, if you like - a second opinion can be insightful.

Go through the same principles in the previous step when you’re editing, and rework the weaker sections. Rinse and repeat until you’re happy with what you have.

How to Write

Before you start writing, you should get a slot at an assembly through your Prefects, Student Representative Council, Prefect Coordinator, or whoever organises assemblies at your school. Remember to ask about logistics - time limit, any technical requirements such as how to switch slides, or speech requirements (e.g. content that could be deemed too triggering).

Would you like to share your speech to inspire others like you? Let us know here!

How to Practice

Practice Makes Permanent - it doesn’t necessarily make perfect. Practice makes us better at what we’ve been practicing, so it’s important to do things right from the get-go.

Asides from practicing it by yourself in order to fine-tune your pacing, tone, and delivery, consider practicing with other people. This is worth trying, especially if you’re not that good with crowds - yet! It’s a great opportunity to get feedback and take care of the things that you might not notice when you’re practicing alone such as projection, enunciation and eye contact.

Many people often have something to aid them like palm cards or a printed copy of their speech on sheets of paper. If that’s the case for you, try and become less reliant on them as you practice.  You don’t necessarily have to memorise it, but being less reliant on any assistive material can help you focus more on connecting and engaging with your audience.

That’s it. You’re done.

You’ve successfully written a speech and practised it effectively. Go out there and share your story, challenge people’s biases, spark change and action!

Would you like to share your speech to inspire others like you? Let us know here!

Anti-Discrimination Statement

Having an Anti-Discrimination Statement is a way for your school to officially take a stand against racism, and commit to creating a safe, welcoming environment for students of all cultural backgrounds. This will clearly outline what the school community strives to become while stating what is not tolerated as behaviour or speech.

Importantly, this Anti-Discrimination Statement should not be something that is tokenistic. The more frequently it is referenced, discussed or applied, the more useful this statement will become. It's important to integrate this statement within your school culture, so anyone at any time can use it to help themselves or bring attention to an important issue. 

When drafting a meaningful Anti-Discrimination Statement ask yourself these questions:

Asking these sorts of open-ended questions will enable you to prioritise and structure your Anti-Discrimination Statement around the wants and needs of your students.

Remember this statement is first and foremost for you and your peers, so draft it for your collective concerns and goals. Ensure you seek input from a diverse group of members from the school community so you can best capture these.

Finally, when drafting this statement, remember that it doesn’t have to be ‘boring’! Since it will be a helpful resource for your school community, write it with their needs and concerns in mind.

Now to pitch the statement. As a student leader, you may realise that coming up with new initiatives will not necessarily be the hardest part of your role. More often than not, getting them approved can be more difficult.

On top of that, there’s the power imbalance thanks to their age and status as adult teachers.

For students who are people of colour, this imbalance could feel greater as the situation may make it difficult for them to claim a ‘seat at the table’ and influence decisions, and they may be held to a different standard to White students.

To overcome these challenges, it helps to develop a solid pitch before you talk to your school’s executive team. You need to outline what the Statement will involve, as well as address any concerns you think they may have.

You should address:

  • What the Statement is
  • Why it is needed
  • What it will achieve for the school community
  • When it should be implemented
  • How you would promote it

Getting feedback on your pitch from other teachers/student leaders who have experience with the executive can be helpful.

During the pitch, it can also be useful to share your own experiences and why you think the Statement can be beneficial, as that can garner empathy from the executive.

Additionally, consider going with a couple of other student leaders; not only would you be able to bounce arguments off of each other during the meeting, you’d be able to step in for each other should there be a question that you aren’t too sure on how to answer. Also, there can be power in numbers.

A dark brown hand holding a sign that says 'Examples'.

Examples of Anti-Discrimination Statements include 

Oak Flats Public School’s Anti-Racism Policy.
Equality and Diversity Policy Template
Tips and a guide for Building Your Plan

In particular, consider the NSW Department of Education’s Anti-Racism Policy.

This policy applies to all NSW Public School employees and students, and has implications for each school community that you could reference in your statement.

Approaching Negotiations

Like all proposals, there could be some pushback from the executive. If that is the case, you can use this approach towards negotiation, adapted from United Nations Youth NSW’s model used for their Negotiations Competition.

Negotiations should be interest-based. Focus on the interests of each party, not their specific demands. While focusing on specific demands is the more conventional approach, it’s far better to focus on their interests. Don’t focus on the ‘what’, focus on the ‘why’.

What’s known as the ‘Orange Quarrel’ may clarify this for you. Imagine that A and B both want the same, whole orange.

If we take a position-based approach, the most logical approach would be to halve the orange, but that leaves neither party satisfied. However, if we take an interest-based approach, we can come up with a more equitable solution that satisfies both parties.

If we look into why A and B want the orange, we find out that A needs the whole orange for its juice, while B needs the whole orange’s peel. With that knowledge, B can zest the orange and then give it to A, serving both parties’ interests.

A digital graphic of an orange peel and glass of orange juice.

When you’re in a negotiation, establish both parties’ interests very clearly.

Negotiations can be understandably confronting; in that case, it can be a good idea to bring any other members you may have collaborated with in the process of creating the proposal (e.g. Prefects, Student Representative Council, Social Justice Committee) to help negotiate for the Anti-Discrimination Statement’s approval.

  • Generate all the possible options/solutions you can take, including the Anti-Discrimination Statement you want to propose
  • Evaluate all the possible options to choose the best one. This is a chance for you to assert the importance of the Statement
  • Reach a tentative conclusion. Depending on how things go, you may have not been able to reach a final decision. In that case, arrange for a follow-up meeting.

Other Notes:

  • Be courteous
  • In a negotiation, there is no us vs. them. You are both on the same side.
  • Be honest, especially with what you know and don’t know
  • Be flexible
  • Take note of the items you may need to follow up after the meeting (e.g. emails, amendments to the Statement)
  • Ask questions if you’re not sure about anything
  • Listen to the other side
  • If caught in a stalemate, an option would be to go back to discussing your interests or exploring the proposed ideas, especially if they’re multidimensional.
Digital illustration of an aboriginal style drawing of mountains. There are dots throughout and the colours are light pink and light brown.

This is a representation of my own journey. I wish I knew more about where I come from and I wish I could hear the stories that my Great Grandmother had about her life and her own journey. But nevertheless, I am thankful for being able to educate myself and I am thankful for the connections that I feel.

- Jessica Clarke / @Muthi.Tidda

Anti-Racism Leadership Event

Organising an Anti-Racism Leadership Event takes more time and effort than other strategies in the Anti-Racism Kit, but it is uniquely powerful because it educates and empowers many more school leaders such as yourself to recognise racism as a significant issue.

Here are the step-by-step instructions to organising this ambitious event.

Get together with your organising team and establish what you want this event to achieve. What will the attendees gain from your Anti-Racism Leadership Event? This thinking will inform the structure and the choice of activities. A clear intended takeaway for the attendees will make it a meaningful experience for them.

  • Do you have a general focus on anti-racism, or explore specific topics? 
  • Do you want to explore certain dates? Such as:
    - Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 Mar)
    - Sorry Day (May 26th)
    - National Reconciliation Week (27 May-3 Jun)
    - NAIDOC Week (first week of July)
  • Do you want to focus on smaller-scale issues within schools/the local community (e.g. bullying, casual racism), or wider societal issues? (e.g. reconciliation, refugee rights)
  • Do you aim to educate school leaders on racial issues, or do you want to focus more on storytelling and learning directly from each other’s experiences? Or do you want to focus on exploring strategies everyone can take back into their schools? 

    - If you aim to educate, inviting guest speakers/organisations may be of interest
    - If you want to focus more on storytelling, having some discussions (more here) at your event may be what you’re looking for
    - If you want to focus on strategies, guest speakers/discussions as well as workshops can be great for learning new strategies.

Besides the nature of the activities, organising the Anti-Racism Leadership Event would be similar to the organisation of other similar events like Prefect Afternoon Teas or similar student leadership events. After the organising team decides on the structure of the event, your team can start organising and allocating responsibilities to each member.

Some Responsibilities to Consider:

  • Receiving executive approval for the event (e.g. preparing a proposal to exec, risk assessments, booking the event in the school calendar etc.)
  • Organising guest speakers (i.e. research, reaching out to potential speakers, having back-up options)
  • Organising activities (each activity should have their own working group, organising its procedure, materials needed etc.)
  • Coordinating invitations and RSVPs
  • Other logistics (e.g. supervising staff, booking locations within the school, food, equipment)

Your team should also start writing the runsheet, which everyone should have a copy of on the day to ensure things are running smoothly and on time.

We've created a draft runsheet for an example event theme: Celebrating Multiculturalism - Prefects Afternoon Tea.

Take it up a notch

Fight racism beyond the school gates and advocate for people of colour within wider  SOCIETY 

White skin coloured hand holding a sign that says 'SOCIETY'.
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