Malaysian-born Hindu, Rathi Ramanathan is health and human rights activist with over 15 years experience working and advocating on issues relating across health, labour and political and civil rights in pro-democracy movements and networks across Asia. She has lived in the UK and United States and now resides in Grafton, New South Wales Australia. She is the chair of newly formed LOETUS ( Language other than English Together with US)
A former journalist and economist, she is passionate that diverse representation is key to any meaningful consultation/dialogue/debate, particular from people of color or culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) as it promotes social inclusion and strengthens democracy. Not new to discrimination -as Indian ethnic minorities are discriminated in Malaysia – she has written and spoken about institutionalism racism, racial disparity and the active listening to minority voices.
Author of editorials from a perspective of a woman of colour who is struggling to understand her new country and home, Australia but wanting desperately to cling on her identity, her stories, her values and politics. She is exploring through these essays whether that is possible without losing “herself” along the way.
A life long advocate for environmental conservation, Indigenous rights and self determination, originally from Melbourne and Russell Irving is currently residing in Darwin. Over 30 years professional experience in the government, corporate and Indigenous land and resource management sectors, including many years working with remote communities building sustainable cultural, environmental, economic and social benefits. Russell is the man behind the graphic images including the photograph on the home page.
Russell is married to main blogger of this site, Rathi Ramanathan and now has first hand experience of the challenges of a cross cultural marriage.
Born in Australia, but Sri Lankan Tamil by cultural heritage, Dhurka Maheswaran is a law graduate and a strong advocate for Indigenous and refugee rights as well as female empowerment. Her first job experience after completing her university studies began in Wadeye, a remote Aboriginal community in the NT where she worked as a Safe House coordinator and by fateful chance, met Rathi Ramanathan.
Despite growing up in Australia, Dhurka faces the experience as with most young people that have first-generation migrant parents of trying to maintain a delicate balance between the cultural expectations that come with her Sri Lankan Tamil heritage and embracing the Australian way of life.
Thomas Mayor is a Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait Islander) man born and living on Larrakia country (Darwin).
Thomas worked for 16 years in the maritime industry as a Port Worker and Stevedore, becoming an Organiser and Official of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) in 2010.
Known to be an effective organiser and campaigner, Thomas was elected as the President of the Northern Territory Trades and Labour Council in 2016, becoming a leader and spokesperson for the Northern Territory union movement.
Thomas has applied his advocacy experience and organising skills to further the interests of his fellow Indigenous Peoples along with other social justice causes. He has organised numerous community actions in response to detrimental Government decisions while also looking to address structural and systemic institutional powerlessness.
In early 2017, a series of 13 regional dialogues were designed and run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People as part of the Referendum Council consultations, with Thomas being invited to the north of the Northern Territory regional dialogue held in Darwin. Thomas was elected by the regional dialogue with 9 delegates to attend the culmination of those dialogues, the National Constitutional Reform Convention at Uluru.
At the request of Referendum Council Co-Chair Professor Pat Anderson AO, the MUA agreed to second Thomas to assist with consensus building and a campaign for change. Thomas assisted the organisers in designing the agenda for the Uluru Convention, and spoke about unity and organising at the final plenary session immediately before the Uluru Statement from the Heart was read for the first time. The Statement was endorsed with standing acclamation by approximately 250 Indigenous Peoples from 13 regions across the entire continent.
Since the Uluru Convention, Thomas has worked full time advocating for the aspirations within the Uluru Statement from the Heart, taking the Uluru Statement from the Heart to many communities and organisations to raise awareness and build support for a peoples movement that will see the aspirations of the Statement become a success.
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