Wesa Chau
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We believe by helping people cope with racism and build their confidence to deal with potential future incidents, we can create a stronger and resilient community.

Our Story

I am a proud Chinese-Australian living in Australia since the age of 7. Growing up, I have experienced occasional racist incidents when people drive past and tell me to go back to my own country or casual racism where people made negative comments implying all Chinese are the same but not sure if it is directed at you or not.  I remember the first time it happened it came as a shock and wasn’t sure if that was racism and not sure how to handle it. Over time I learnt to let go and move on and largely forgotten these incidents, so if people asked if I experienced racism, my response would be not really because they don’t impact on me anymore, nor are they prominent in my memory that require me to talk to people about it.

I later worked in the multicultural and international education sectors and heard many stories of racism experienced by First Australians, African-Australians, Australians of Muslim religion, people of Indian heritage and more.  So whilst I know racism do exist and work to fight racism through various community campaigns alongside fellow Australians, my personal experiences remain to be low. Speaking to fellow Asian-Australians, some share similar experiences and fortunately never experienced racism over the years – until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It was almost overnight that Asian-Australians became the target of racism.

I have witnessed friends sharing with me their experiences, people sharing on Facebook their incidents, reports in the newspapers. People asked anyone that look Chinese to explain coronavirus and take responsibility for it.  I also have to make a conscious choice whether to wear a mask and potentially attract unwanted attention. This time, I experienced and felt the helplessness that Muslim communities in Australia described after 9-11 when people expected anyone that practiced Islam to be responsible for and have answers for any terror attacks around the world.

Given the severity of the impact on the Asian-Australian communities and in particular international students (the majority are from an Asian country), it was when I decided it was time to find ways to support people and help them cope with racism. There is a gap in the current support system where racism is not typically serious enough for people to seek counselling services or psychologists because it may not be directly associated with mental illness.  However, racist incidents still have a significant and negative psychological impact on people. Therefore, through discussing with Christine Yeung, a leading Asian-Australian workplace psychologist to develop the 3-level resilience model to help people cope with racism.

We believe by helping people cope with racism and build their confidence to deal with potential future incidents, we can create a stronger and resilient community.