Anti-racist street signs divide Sydney’s Cumberland region: #racismNOTwelcome
The placement of a ‘woke’ anti-racism street sign near a war memorial in Sydney has been called ‘disrespectful’, treacherous’ and ‘un-Australian’ by outraged locals.
Cumberland Council in western Sydney has put up 50 bright red ‘street signs’ saying ‘#racismNOTwelcome’ as part of a city-wide social media campaign to promote inclusion.
But it is one near the Anzac Remembrance Wall in the local park that is becoming the center of a bitter row.
Independent councilor Steve Christou says the signs in the ethically diverse area, where 70 per cent of residents speak a language other than English, dishonor the memory of fallen Diggers.
The #racismNOTwelcome street signs divide residents in the western Sydney area of Cumberland
He called the sign near the war memorial ‘treacherously disrespectful and frankly un-Australian’.
Retired war veteran and Bundjalung man Dave Williams agrees.
‘Make your protests – great! But do it elsewhere, he said A Current Affair.
‘Do it properly and come and say G’day and introduce yourself instead of coming and putting up a sign on someone else’s turf and saying ‘we’re doing our part’.
‘It’s just so disrespectful.
It shouldn’t be there, they make a point using this park and what his park represents. Move it.
Three other councilors have joined Mr Christou in calling for the sign to be removed.
Cumberland councilor Stever Christou calls #racismNOTwelcome sign near war memorial ‘treasonous’ and ‘un-Australian’
A proposal to this effect will be considered at the next city council meeting.
Cllr Christou wants all the #racismNOTwelcome signs, which reportedly cost the council $5000 to put up, ‘put in the bin’.
“There shouldn’t be room for them anywhere,” he said.
‘If you want to eradicate racism, go out and start some education campaigns somewhere.
‘Residents are afraid that it will devalue their house prices because there is a perception in the streets that they are up in that people (are) looking at them and thinking that there might be racism in this street.
‘Those people say ‘I don’t buy here’.
Veteran and Bundjalung man Dave Williams is strongly opposed to the #racismNOTwelcome sign being placed near a war memorial
Channel Nine turned to local residents to gauge sentiment about the signs more broadly.
One woman questioned the need for them and mocked their effectiveness.
“What did it take?” she said.
‘Where I live, it won’t be necessary.
“You read a sign and say, ‘OK, I’m not going to be racist'”?
‘It does not work. It’s not effective.’
However, some of the locals interviewed said they believed the signs ‘were necessary’ and had ‘a good message’.
The bright red street signs appeared on lampposts throughout Sydney’s affluent eastern suburbs, including Paddington (pictured), Rose Bay, Bellevue Hill and Double Bay
Cumberland’s Labor mayor, Lisa Lake, has refused to be interviewed about the signs but has released a statement.
“We strive to embrace all nationalities, cultures, religions and provide a supportive and inclusive community for all,” Lake said.
‘Cumberland is one of the most multicultural communities in Sydney and we strive to embrace all nationalities, cultures, religions and provide a supportive and inclusive community for all.
Former Socceroo Craig Foster (pictured) is one of the leading campaigners for the campaign
‘The Racism Not Welcomed campaign reflects these values.’
Cumberland is a very ethnically diverse area with official statistics showing that 70 per cent of residents speak a language other than English.
In Sydney’s affluent eastern suburbs, Woollahra Council’s rollout of the #racismNOTwelcome signs was met with hostility in some quarters.
Liberal politicians demanded that the signs, which appeared in Paddington, Rose Bay, Bellevue Hill and Double Bay, be torn down.
The backlash saw a motion put to the council that said: ‘Locals say the signs give a false impression that Woollahra locals are racist, when no evidence of this has been produced.’
Former Socceroo Craig Foster is one of the leading activists behind the #racismNOT welcome campaign, which was launched last year.