26 September 2023

Seeking Asylum: Our Stories

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Black Inc., $39.99.

You get to meet ordinary people who have escaped extraordinary circumstances in Seeking Asylum. Their stories are exceptional, and inspirational.

The book clearly captures the experiences of those seeking asylum, accompanied by portrait photographs, giving contributors a platform to share their stories in their own voices.

It’s a beautifully illustrated hardback. There are stories of love, pain, injustice, achievement and everything in between.

Black Inc. has partnered with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) to publish Seeking Asylum: Our stories in celebration of ASRC’s 20th year.

In the foreword, Liliana Maria Sanchez Cornejo, a cultural educator, anthropologist and activist, says our stories have power, and by sharing them, we allow ourselves to be seen. In Seeking Asylum, 23 people with lived experience of seeking asylum reveal their stories with us.

“The differences we create between one another are a social construct, not based on science. Scientifically speaking, we all belong to one race, the human race.”

The CEO and Founder of the ASRC, Kon Karapanagiotidis, says these stories speak to what an “inclusive and welcoming Australia can look like for us all – one of hope, inclusion, compassion, belonging, equality and welcome. For everyone. And through sharing our stories with each other, we can find unity in what makes us different.”

Refugees and people seeking asylum have crossed the earth to find sanctuary, and they have a right to be heard.

The ASRC was born in 2001 and since then they have continued to be a loud and persistent voice for change. “We talk about ‘hope’ often at the ASRC. In the beginning, when this was all just a dream, hope is what powered us. And it’s what keeps us going today.”

“These powerful stories are rich in diversity and centered in the voices of people whose experience all Australians can listen and learn from.”

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