This book is a celebration of The Centre for Multicultural Youth’s (CMY) 20th anniversary, as well as a celebration of human rights, diversity and the hopes of young people. CMY’s journey from its early goal to create a better community for newly arrived young people to its current manifestation as a well-recognised leader in youth issues, is founded on a strong belief that change is possible.
In the mid-1980s, multiculturalism began to emerge as a framework for public policy and, consequently, so did a growing awareness of issues affecting migrant and refugee communities. We started to establish partnerships and strong links with both the mainstream youth sector and the ethno-specific/multicultural sector to draw attention to issues affecting young people from diverse backgrounds.
We believed that strong partnerships are the key in bringing about change. We were also committed to providing a space in which young people’s voices could be heard. Having young people speak directly to decision makers and service providers gave currency to the issues, and bolstered our confidence to stand up and drive policy. The principle of placing young people at the centre of everything we do has remained unchanged over 20 years.
We are proud of the work we have done, both in Victoria and nationally. We have produced this publication as part of our 20th anniversary celebrations to reflect on the challenges, achievements and lessons learnt along the way. As with many other community organisations, we so often focus on identifying the challenges for young people that we forget the gains made. It’s important to recognise how far we have come in 20 years, so that we can dream about what we want to achieve over the coming 20 years.