ASRC launches #RightTrack campaign in Sydney

In August this year, the ASRC launched its #Right Track campaign in Sydney as part of a vital national engagement project that aims to change the community conversation around people seeking asylum and champion a fair and more humane approach. A launch event earlier that month signaled the opening of the ASRC’s first NSW office staffed by a community engagement managers, Vanessa and Justin.

The launch brought together 100 people from across the city from a diverse range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, and also leaders from community services for people seeking asylum. The night was a great success, with nearly half the room signing up for our community action workshops on the spot!

The team have built partnerships and networks with advocacy groups, front-line community services and multicultural communities across the city as part of ASRC’s strong commitment to movement building. Along the way, the ASRC have encountered a real hunger in communities to learn powerful ways to effectively communicate on the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Community organisations are also booking the Sydney team for, ‘Words That Work’ workshops that offer practical ways of applying the research in daily communications. Many advocacy organisations and activist groups are currently using the key messaging principles and partnering with ASRC to empower their members to change the conversation.

We are especially encouraged by the opportunities for partnering with community organisations, having already made connections with Mums 4 Refugees, the Uniting Church Social Justice Forum, Multicultural Youth Ambassadors, the Assyrian Association of Australia, and the Western Sydney Community Forum. Discussions are well progressed with many more, including state and local government multicultural networks.

The first public workshop was held last weekend in Leichhardt with a diverse range of participants learning how to hold powerful, personal, values-based conversations. The energy in the room was fantastic and there was a great desire for community action!

The Sydney roll out of #RightTrack follows the Brisbane launch in February where more than 800 people have since been engaged through presentations, workshops, professional development training and community events.

About Vanessa and Justin

Vanessa Chavez has over 15 years of community engagement and project management experience. She has worked with government agencies, local councils, university and NGOs. Her work has included community and organisational capacity building, especially in CALD communities. Vanessa came to Australia from Nicaragua thirty years ago as a refugee on a humanitarian visa.

Justin Whelan brings over a decade of experience in advocacy, organising and policy reform roles across government, parliament and a range of community sector organisations. Justin is also a regular trainer, guest speaker and lecturer on nonviolent action and civil resistance.



Community Engagement is a key function of advocacy and campaigns at the ASRC and incorporates the Community Education, Speakers, Youth Action Project (YAP) and Schools programs. These programs aim to effectively mobilise and organise supporters on the issue to take action and lead change around the issues faced by people seeking asylum. To find out more about our community engagement programs or the #RightTrack campaign, please visit

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