‘Desis for Yes’ campaign supports Indigenous voice referendum

By Our Reporter
Image cource // Desis for Yes Facebook page

The Indian diaspora in Australia has announced the launch of the ‘Desis for Yes’ campaign, ahead of the upcoming referendum for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

The campaign aims to engage with South Asian Australians, fostering a deeper understanding of the referendum and ensuring that community members are well-informed before casting their votes.

“As we celebrate NAIDOC Week 2023, acknowledging the knowledge, struggles, and sacrifices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, Desis for Yes recognises the importance of constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians and the significance of their voice in shaping the nation’s future,” said Dr Shireen Morris, constitutional lawyer and director of the Radical Centre Reform Lab.

Morris highlighted the growing support for a Yes vote in the Voice referendum. “Over 150 multicultural community organisations have already signed up at multiculturalforvoice.org, demonstrating immense and growing goodwill among South Asian Australians,” said Dr. Morris. “It is fantastic to witness the increasing number of South Asian community organisations stepping up to be part of this campaign.”

Co-convenor of Desis for Yes and Co-chair of the Sydney Alliance, Nishadh Rego, emphasised the unique opportunity for South Asian Australians to stand alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in their pursuit of constitutional recognition and a voice on issues that affect them, a press release said.

“As the first referendum in the twenty-first century, this is a momentous occasion for Australia,” said Rego. “Desis for Yes aims to raise awareness and understanding of the referendum within our communities, while also fostering a strong connection to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which paves the way towards a fairer and more inclusive future for Indigenous Australians.”

Khushaal Vyas, Co-Convenor of Desis for Yes and young lawyer, highlighted the shared history of South Asian communities and First Nations communities, both impacted by the remnants of colonialism.

“South Asian communities are passionate about improving the lives of Indigenous Australians. However, many of us lack the opportunity to fully grasp the historical context that has led to the barriers faced by Indigenous communities today,” said Vyas. “Desis for Yes aims to bridge this gap by fostering a deeper understanding of history and encouraging solidarity in our collective pursuit of justice.”

Desis for Yes invites South Asian Australians to join the campaign and play an active role in shaping a more equitable and inclusive future for all Australians.

“Desis for Yes will closely with other campaign bodies to bridge that knowledge gap and will walk with Indigenous Australians to pave a brighter future ahead. We hope that South Asian and multicultural Australians join us on this journey to stand hand-in-hand with Indigenous Australians and take a major step forward for Australia together,”said Vyas.

Desis for Yes will co-host their first face-to-face community conversation at Western Sydney University in Parramatta on Sunday 23 July 2023 from 12 PM onwards. RSVP details will be available shortly on the relevant social media pages.

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