Black Aussies are sharing their Afros (and their stories) all over Instagram to mark World Afro Day, sending a strong message to policymakers in NSW in particular that Black students have every right to wear their natural hair to school.
World Afro Day was founded in London in 2017 as a way to celebrate natural Afro hair and put an end to discrimination, especially in schools. It was even endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Office from day dot.
In Australia, Sydney-based rapper JamarzOnMarz has called on people to #ProtectBlackStudents and expand anti-discrimination legislation to include hairstyles at school.
“#ProtectBlackStudents can be used by anyone to show their support, raise awareness, lobby policy makers, or bring this everyday discrimination to light,” he said.
“Australia is only now realising, firstly this type of covert discrimination occurs in schools, and secondly, how severe and traumatic these racist microaggressions are.”
Since July, JamarzOnMarz has led the campaign to allow Black students in NSW to wear their natural hair to school, after several private schools said styles like Afros, braids and locs didn’t meet their dress codes.
To that end, he’s encouraging people to tag NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell and NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman in their posts.
After a petition to make school dress codes fall under anti-discrimination law clocked over 23,000 signatures, Mitchell has only given lip service while Speakman has been completely silent.
Now Black students (and alumni) are sharing their own stories in order to raise awareness for the issue on World Afro Day.
Other non-Black Aussies are also being encouraged to show their support as allies by making their own posts to help raise awareness.
Peep the hashtag on Insta here, and sign the petition here.