Ambassador Q&A: Jimmy Mtashar
Passionate advocate and White Ribbon Ambassador Jimmy Mtsashar brings to the role experience as a counsellor and educator, and active community spirit.
What is your day job?
I am a teacher with the NSW Department of Education
How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
I got involved in White Ribbon after seeing first hand, as a caseworker and youth worker, the devastating effect of domestic violence. I also know that violence against women affects all communities regardless of their background or socio-economic status.
In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?
As a local Ambassador, and convener of the Liverpool White Ribbon Committee, I have helped organise street festivals around White Ribbon Day to raise community awareness. These festivals were conducted in 2011 and 2012. The festivals took place in Miller, which is an area known to have high rates of domestic violence. Service stalls, entertainment and free lunch was provided to the public as well as the swear jar initiative. Hundreds of people participated including 34 organisations.
I was involved in organising a White Ribbon Forum in 2013 to raise awareness of White Ribbon Day and to put a stop to violence against women. The forum was open to the public and had guest speakers from police, health, DV services and local members of parliament. It also featured a play from local youth showcasing the effect of violence on families. There was also a talk from a perpetrator who had turned his life around.
In late 2013, I was also involved in organising a local futsal tournament targeting men from refugee backgrounds to help reduce social isolation and promote positive peer relationships.
That same year, I was also assisted in organising a men’s health forum which looked at a range of men’s health issues including mental health and wellbeing.
I am also a member of the following:
- Liverpool White Ribbon Committee, which was created to increase awareness about White Ribbon and share the message. The committee is convened by the Liverpool MRC, NSW Health, Green Valley Police and Liverpool City Council. The committee comes together and organizes White Ribbon events annually.
- Liverpool Community Safety & Crime Prevention Working Group, which consists of a range of services led by Council and Police to address issues of safety and crime prevention in the local community.
- Liverpool Domestic Violence Liaison Committee, which consists of a range of service providers committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence and conducting proactive initiatives to raise awareness in the local area.
- Liverpool Youth Workers Network, which consists of local services and government departments who provide a range of services for young people. The network conducts meetings monthly and advocates on youth issues.
Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?
Gender Equality is important to me not only as an Ambassador but also as a husband and a father to a 2 year old daughter. It is for this reason that I am a passionate Ambassador who wants to see the gap closed on the issue of Gender Equality.
As a father, like any father, I want to see my daughter succeed in this world. Unfortunately, I knew the day she was born that she would face a greater struggle because of her gender. I know that she is likely to earn less in her lifetime for doing the same job as the men in her workplace, or that she may have to deal with an over 50 per cent chance she may be sexually harassed in that same workplace, or that she is more likely to face discrimination when she chooses to have children, and that once she has children, as a mother, she will likely spend twice as long looking after them as her partner.
As an Ambassador, father and as a man, I am committed to being an active contributor to the process of change, to ensure that Gender Equality is not just a distant vision but a reality.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?
We are planning a White Ribbon March around White Ribbon Day 2016. This will include members of the public, local police, council, service providers and schools marching the streets of Liverpool spreading the message of the White Ribbon campaign. The event will include a festival in Liverpool which will include entertainment from local schools, the swear jar initiative, various fun activities as well as a free barbecue lunch.