Advocate for the African-Australian community, Melbourne-based lawyer Nyadol Nyuon, has received the Racism It Stops With Me award from the Australian Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Awards is the pinnacle of human rights recognition in Australia. Each year they are proud to recognise the outstanding contributions of individuals and organisations, in promoting and protecting the human rights and freedoms of Australians.
Arriving in Australia in 2005, Nyadol Nyuon is a lawyer, community advocate, writer and accomplished public speaker. She holds a bachelor degree in Arts from Victoria University and a law degree from the University of Melbourne. She was born in a refugee camp in Ethiopia and spent some of her childhood in the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya. She is passionate about social justice and a creating a fairer society, as such she speaks on issues concerning human rights, multiculturalism, social cohesion, race and media, diversity and representation.
There are many reasons why Nyadol Nyuon fights for a fairer Australia and for the rights African-Australian’s. Having lived in Australia for over ten years, Nyadol Nyuon has experienced her unfair share of racism, alongside close friends of hers who also migrated to Australia. Liep Johnson Gony was a friend of Nyadol, a 19-year-old boy who was bashed to death by two Caucasian men in Melbourne. Later that night, a passerby found him in a waste yard with multiple horrific injuries and sadly the next evening, Liep’s family had to turn off his life support. The two men were charged however, the judge determined that the attack was not racially provoked, Nyadol Nyuon strongly disagreed. In court it was stated that one of the men had said, “These blacks are turning this town into the Bronx. I am going to take my town back, I’m looking to kill the blacks.” Among other racial slurs that were graffiti-ed on the walls of the young boys apartment, before the attack.
Racism is more common in Australia than people may realise, causing serious and detrimental effects, not only physically but on ones health. The more serious consequences aren’t so easy to detect, the impacts racism can have on the brain can create similar patterns of brain activity and damage caused by physical pain. Reeking havoc on the body, damaging the heart, the immune system and even ones DNA. “When it’s not making us sick, racism can kill us in any number of ways,” said Nyadol. It is a terrible issue that Nyadol is passionate about changing and receiving the Racism It Stops With Me award from the Australian Human Rights Commission is great recognition for this. Although she has received online bullying and hate in result of her efforts, she is determined more than ever to create a fairer Australia for all.
In 2016, Nyadol was the recipient of the Future Justice Prize and has been nominated as one of the hundred most influential African Australians in 2011. In 2018 her efforts to combat racism have been widely recognised, with achievements including the Afro-Australian Student Organisation‘s Unsung Hero Award. The Harmony Alliance Award for significant contribution to empowering migrant and refugee women.
Nyadol is also interested in Australian and world politics and the nature of our public discourse. She brings a unique perspective to public debate and is a recognised social commentator regularly appearing on various media outlets including the ABC’s The Drum and as a panellist on the ABC’s QandA. She is frequently invited to speak at conferences, community forums and workshops and many social events. Nyadol is an occasional contributor for The Age and has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald; the Saturday Paper; The Australasian Review of African Studies, The Australian Mosaic Magazine and Offset (The Victoria University’s annual literary magazine).
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