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Call It Out initiative launches new app to tackle racism

Giovanni Torre -

The Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, in partnership with the National Justice Project, has launched the Call It Out app, a new platform aimed at documenting and addressing racism against First Nations People in communities across Australia.

Building on the work of the Call It Out website, which has received nearly 1,000 reports since its inception on 21 March 2022, the new app is designed to make reporting racism as accessible as possible.

The creators of Call It Out say the app
allows the public to report incidents of racism they experience directly or witness; and allows respondents "the freedom to share their stories without predefined restriction, helping shape a comprehensive narrative of First Nations people's lived experiences of racism and discrimination".

The app features traditional artwork by advocate Kirsten Gray, a Muruwari/Yuwalaraay woman, mother, and artist.

Ariane Dozer from the National Justice Project said "the
main reason we created the app was to make reporting as accessible as possible to enable people to share their experiences anytime, anywhere".

"It’s pretty powerful to be able to channel injustice into a collective story for positive impact,” she said.

"We believe in the power of allyship to combat racism. With this app, we can raise awareness and encourage the societal changes necessary to ensure a just and equitable society for all."

The Call It Out initiative's first Annual Report (2022-23) documented 497 reports highlighting racism in workplaces, commercial locations, online and in the media, and in various government and private institutions.

The most common types reported included negative attitudes or stereotyping (20 per cent) and discrimination (17 per cent). Reports of physical and verbal abuse, hate speech, bullying, threats, intimidation, and property damage comprised 35 per cent of total incidents.

48 per cent of incidents were reported by First Nations people directly experiencing racism and 40 per cent of incidents were reported by witnesses, "highlighting the prevalence of observable racism in daily settings".

The initiative has recorded an ongoing racism rate of 24 per cent, indicating persistent challenges in combating structural racism. Reports often contain multiple incidents of racism experienced or witnessed by the same person - sometimes occurring over many years and across generations - indicating a likely significant undercount of the overall report numbers.

On the launch of the new app, Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO said "one of the most powerful ways to create change is the telling of stories".

"Call It Out puts the power in the hands of all of us to shape how racism is understood and how it needs to be addressed," she said.

The lead researchers, Dr Fiona Allison and Professor Chris Cunneen from Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research (Jumbunna Research), said that after two years of operating via a website, the app should make Call It Out more accessible to more people.

The researchers hope this will increase reporting in real time and continue to "expose the realities of racism, including its real and long-lasting impacts and how it shifts over time".

“Tackling racism against First Nations people needs a whole of community response. Everyone has a role in telling a comprehensive and collective story of racism in this country. As non-Indigenous people, we believe that we all have a responsibility to expose and resist racism by calling it out," they said in a joint statement.


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