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Aussies encouraged to report racism in lead up to January 26

Jarred Cross -

Australians are being urged not to look past racism in the lead up to January 26, and to report incidents both personally experienced and identified to a national register working to tackle the abuse.

For close to two years, the Call it Out register has invited people to report cases of racism and discrimination against First Peoples.

The National Justice Project and Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research are the engines behind it.

Submissions are made through a confidential questionnaire, allowing individuals to report on when and what they saw - as either victims and witnesses, from in-person incidents to social media activity, examples in the media and institutional matters, and how it was delivered - i.e physical, verbal or threats and intimidation.

Call it Out says the register is an initiative for the long-term while producing annual reports to 'progressively impact public policy into the future'.

"Our purpose is to collect information on racism, including how it is experienced, how often it is occurring and the impact it is having on people," the project states.

"This information will inform evidence-based research that enables us to report on racism and its impacts, inform anti-racism action, support the response of First Nations organisations and leaders and educate the wider community."

They credit similar previous ventures from Jewish and Muslim groups for inspiration in developing the register.

Indigenous Australians felt an uptake in racism as the Voice to Parliament debate and results played out last year.

A month out from the referendum, Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney was heard telling NSW Premier Chris Minns her campaign had been "grueling" while she received "appalling" treatment, including racism and bullying.

This week, social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention peak body Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia said they are bracing for a similar situation around the first January 26 public holiday since the referendum.

Last year, Call it Out found racism and discrimination was reported in all pockets of the country with much of it an ongoing issue.

National Justice Project projects and partnerships manager Ariane Dozer said "it's everyone's responsibility" to take action.

"Standing up to racism is one of the most important ways non-Indigenous Australians can show allyship," she said.

"We need non-Indigenous Australians to share the burden and do their bit to help fight racism in this country. It's everyone's responsibility.

"Call it Out is an easy to use online tool that you can use to report any type of racism or discrimination against First Nations people anytime."

Early calls for collective support and to provide safe spaces are being shared online.

Victorian Aboriginal women's support organisation Djirra has encouraged mob to consider their levels of engagement and what positive alternative actions to do otherwise on social media this week.

"We know it's a difficult time with Invasion Day fast approaching…Self-care is resistance, Being Blak and proud is resistance…Take a break from social media (and don't read the comments)," Djirra wrote in a post.

13 YARN (13 92 76)

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