Denisse M Vera
Dr Mandy Hughes
Tanith Chippendale is the youth community member for the West Sydney Regional Advisory Council (RAC) for Multicultural NSW. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and has been the editor for their magazine focused on the Social Justice and Political section. With an array of volunteer experiences with St Vincent de Paul Society, SPARK and Amnesty International, Tanith is motivated by her great passion for youth and advocating for youth issues.
During her time in High School, she started volunteering, which included a SPARK program where she taught English to refugee children.
"I've always wanted to work with youth because I feel like the youth voice is a voice that often goes unheard,” Tanith explained.
“You find a lot of people that speak about what they think is best for youth but don't actually listen to what young people want.
“Western Sydney has a huge youth demographic and given that what happens today will affect our future, being able to make a difference at a young age is really important.”
Tanith was born in South Africa and arrived in Australia when she was just six years old, living first in Perth and then in Broken Hill.
“My mum's best friend is Indigenous and lived in Broken Hill, so although we were some of the only people of colour there, it was really great to have someone else of colour to share our experiences with,” she explained.
West Sydney RAC
Tanith’s involvement with the West Sydney RAC allows her to shed a light on multicultural youth issues and to be that pragmatic youth voice for positive change.
“Being part of the RAC is a great way to bring issues to light to the government and collectively figure out how we can solve them,” she said.
“As a student journalist who is involved in different church groups and youth associations, many people talk to me about their concerns. I found that other than writing an article on the topic, not much could be done to bring about change.
“Being on the West Sydney RAC has given me an opportunity to not only write about issues, but take an active role in having something done about them. Even if it's not at a government level, you meet so many people working in so many different capacities through non-government organisations and community groups, which helps implement a plan or give you a bit more clarity about how to approach situations involving youth issues.”
Tanith says being on the West Sydney RAC allows her to compare youth issues in her area to other regions, discovering differences and connections. IDEATION, an event that aims to bring diverse young people together annually to voice their opinions on what living in a multicultural community means was a highlight for Tanith as a RAC member. She took part in the event, generating ideas to address the many challenges our society and young people face to develop methods to unite communities.
“IDEATION was really effective and showed the passion of youth towards resolving issues of belonging and racism. I also found them to be extremely creative and reasonable,” she reflected.
As she continues her studies, Tanith hopes that she can continue down this path and enter a role that involves advocacy law, freelance journalism, and policy.
“Having experienced racism throughout my life, whether it was because of my hair, my accent, or my bigger bottom, I've always been passionate about this idea of multiculturalism.
“A big part of it is my mixed background as African and European. Growing up in the west as a child, I befriended people from all different types of backgrounds and made lifelong friendships.
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