In this series, we want to share what has inspired our committee members to join the team, what issues they’re passionate about and a bit of their story.
Vishal joined the Asian Australian Project this year, leading a new part of the executive team.
When I was seven, my family moved to Australia, to the country town of Wagga Wagga. Despite being the only Asian kid in my primary school, I integrated into Australian life pretty quickly. But moving at an early age and not having any Indian influences outside my family resulted in me being quite disconnected from my culture, and there have been challenges reconciling my cultural roots with my largely ‘Australian’ identity. This may also be in part due to the lack of Indian role models in Western media.
Unfortunately, the representation of Indians in media has not been very positive. Characters like Apu from the Simpsons or Raj from Big Bang Theory convey inaccurate and negative stereotypes that are incredibly harmful to the community. Even on a small scale, I hope to change the perception of Indian people and to show the value of diversity in our society.
For the Asian Australian Project, a lesson that I carry is the value of community. Even in a small town, I eventually found a community of Indian people who provided me and my family invaluable support in a new environment. Similarly, after moving to Melbourne, the Indian community has been incredibly important to the social and cultural happiness of my family.
My goal for the Asian Australian Project is to provide a community for Asian Australians to share their experiences and through this, empower and enrich their lives.