31 January 2023
Representing multicultural young people in leadership
Meet Wesley Chen, an inspiring Year 12 student and CMY Youth Advisory Group (YAG) member, who cares deeply about multiculturalism and inclusion. Born in Australia and raised in a traditional Chinese household, Wesley sometimes felt disconnected and was seeking other young people who shared similar experiences growing up as a person of colour in Melbourne.
“Being from a minority group, I sought to connect with others who had similar experiences and I wanted a platform where I could voice my opinions in a way where it would have a genuine impact,” Wesley said about why he joined the YAG.
The YAG provides an opportunity for young people to build their advisory and advocacy skills and influence the work of CMY; including program development and speaking on issues that should be at the forefront. Having been a member for the past year, Wesley was able to work on the Statewide Forum, Amplifying Our Voices: Elevating Multicultural Youth in Student Leadership, delivered to the youth and education sector in October 2022.
“The forum was tremendous highlight; being able to share first-hand lived experiences with the people who hold authority within the youth sector.”
Wesley says that was the first time he felt he was able to contribute towards a larger conversation that would have a genuine impact on bringing society together through discourse.
“The main challenge we face is that our society does not put enough emphasis on multiculturalism. In order to build on this weakness, we need to facilitate more discussions like these, fostering a more inclusive culture where the adults can also learn from students,” Wesley said.
Being from a school where there is a large proportion of international students and students from migrant backgrounds, Wesley says that there is still a lack of awareness and inclusivity for other cultures, and not enough being taught on this issue within the curriculum.
“Students are at a disadvantage when there’s a lack of conversation around race and language barriers. There just isn’t enough done at the moment in terms of inclusion.” Frustrated by this, Wesley was keen to represent other young people within leadership and speak out about these issues through the YAG.
“We need more conversation around ways to tackle exclusion within society in general and I would love to see genuine multicultural education within the curriculum.”
Find out more about our Youth Advisory Groups.