In the wake of the 7 July 2005 London bombings, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decided to tackle racial intolerance and the threat of violence in Australia with some good acronyms.
The central plank of this all-out assault was the National Action Plan to Build on Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security, affectionately known as NAPBSCHS. Under this plan, grants were distributed to community organisations that promoted racial tolerance and harmony.
In 2010, responsibility for these grants was transferred from NAPBSCHS to DSCP, or the Diversity and Social Cohesion Program. In NSW, much of the program’s funding goes to sports clubs in Western Sydney, who run projects that try to reduce gang activity and increase the number of culturally diverse youth playing sport.
However, the program occasionally funds non-sport projects too.
For instance, this year the Auburn Community Development Network will get $50,000 to run a project called “The Art of Hospitality: Bring a Plate”. As part of this project:
Participants will design, create and produce ceramic plates with anti-racism messages… The painted plates will be used for communal dinners on culturally significant occasions.
While the punters let their creative juices flow, they will be entertained by a guest speaker, who will “address the theme of racism and prejudice.” Not even Mozart was so well looked after.
And if you can’t make it to Auburn for some plate-painting, fear not; the entire proceedings will be broadcast on ABC Radio National.
As the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Senator Kate Lundy said, “While the vast majority of Australians embrace what it means to be Australian and reject racism in all its forms, there are still pockets of racism and discrimination in our communities.”
Luckily, the DSCP is on the case, tackling racism one painted ceramic plate at a time.
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