© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

Racism awareness posters pop up around the city

Finlay Dunseath
Against Racism Ōtautahi poster on Colombo St.  Finlay Dunseath

Against Racism Ōtautahi has teamed up with an artist to create posters that tell the real struggles of people in Christchurch.

Beth Lenihan, 37, head of Against Racism Ōtautahi said "I had the idea of doing some sharp media to represent people's stories of racism locally, sort of to counteract the rhetoric that was going around of this is not us, this is not Christchurch, this is not normal".

She said it is easy for white people to ignore the experiences of people of color but she hoped the posters would be bring their experiences into the light.

"This stuff is happening and it's happening in your neighborhood," Lenihan said.

Racism experienced by multicultural women in the local community is the focus of the series, ranging from stories of subtle microaggressions to physical intimidation. 

Ingy Roufail, 21, a computer science student said it was important these stories were shown in public places so that people could understand the judgement women faced based on their color and race.

Illustrations of the posters are drawn by New York-based artist Maria DeSouza McAllister.

Lenihan reached out to McAllister hoping to collaborate on a striking media campaign, after being impressed by her online posts about racism in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The posters were printed and posted around the city by local business Phantom Billstickers free of charge which Lenihan said was "awesome".

The Facebook page for Against Racism Ōtautahi says: "It has always been our belief that racism thrives when connection with others is lost, by giving us the privilege of understanding a tiny part of their experience of racism here in Ōtautahi we hope that this encourages people connect to their experiences as fellow humans and motivates them to be the change that this city sorely needs."

Feeling truely grateful today to see the art work collaboration between ourselves, Harlow design collective and phantom...

Posted by ARO against racism Ōtautahi on Tuesday, 21 May 2019