3. Manal Younus STUDENT COPY.docx - State Finalist Young Australian of the Year 2016 Manal Younus Diversity Champion In 1998 Manal arrived in Australia

3. Manal Younus STUDENT COPY.docx - State Finalist Young...

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State Finalist Young Australian of the Year 2016 Manal Younus Diversity Champion In 1998, Manal arrived in Australia with her siblings after fleeing her country of origin, Eritrea, only days before the beginning of the country’s most devastating war. Tackling racism and prejudice head-on, Manal learnt first-hand what it means to be different and has become an agent for change in the community. Through her work with Welcome to Australia – a not-for-profit that aims to cultivate a culture of welcome in our nation – Manal has developed programs to elevate the national conversation around refugees, immigration and multiculturalism. As a member of the ActNow Theatre, Manal has staged award-winning interactive theatre performances that identify and confront racism. While completing a degree in international relations, Manal has also navigated her sense of identity through poetry, entering spoken word competitions and performing her work around the country. Working with other refugees to develop poems that share their stories of persecution, displacement and freedom, Manal encourages others to take pride in their identities and for all Australians to understand and embrace diversity.
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Prejudice - discrimination, communication, identity She looked at me and sighed, do you ever marginalise anyone? I replied, how can I when I’ve been incorrectly categorised so many times? After being carved to fit in masks in boxes taped with slogans to be spread amongst those who’ve no idea of my story My story has involved talking to prisoners and prison guards folks that don’t leave their back yard misers, owners of billions to starving children I’ve spent my days learning different religions, languages and histories opening my mind to the mysteries that are human beings I’ve been a self-hater, demoralised, to an activist and self-celebrator I understand child abuse and going from oppressed to depressed overcoming then repressed I learn from white supremacists,
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gays and homophobes, ply different coloured Australians accents probe my ears vibrating through my lobes and I’m calmed when I see rivers flow and Forests, but I’ve seen too many clearings I’ve seen life disappearing before my very eyes I’ve spent days in nursing homes learning from the forgotten then turned to learn from those who forgot them I learn from kids, and parents who’ve strapped them with bubble wrap not realising that over-protection was a trap men and women who’ve busted their caps and ones that meditate daily and live on bay leaves my story is not unique what I’m learning is that we all seek the same things like to belong be accepted be recognised we went wrong when we engaged in this unjust action of assuming one must practice what we thrust upon them, fact is,
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