Feeling the weight of having to justify her passion for activism and human rights campaigning in the past, Jaime Brownsdon, Curtin University Amnesty WA convenor, emphasises the importance of feeling heard and the power of communication, when it comes to telling stories and highlighting injustices.
(Photo: Jaime Brownsdon and Amnesty Curtin Treasurer Amberly Kilmartin)
“Having a conversation is the best way to spread awareness and educate – and being able to help someone understand why the issue is important and why they should care is really awesome,” she said.
Amnesty was different from other experiences, she explained.
“I met a community of people who are all like-minded. I learnt that a lot of people are passionate about similar things and that together, we can actually make a difference.”
Having cared about human rights from a young age, Jaime continued to follow her heart for social justice and became the Amnesty WA convenor at Curtin University, fighting for rights from the student perspective.
“I live in an area where a lot of the families have gone through some incredible hardships. I’ve had the opportunity to hear the stories of just some of the students at the local school, and they really inspire me to make a difference so that kids like them get a better and fairer future.”
This experience had humbled her.
“[After meeting activists like] Mark Brisbane and Amberly Kilmartin, one year on, they still amaze me with their commitment and passion – something which has been a great motivator and inspiration for me,” she said.
After seeing a number of exciting changes in the way people view human rights and advocacy, Jaime said that Australia had a lot to be proud of, but admitted that the country still had a long way to go.
“Australia has made some really great progress in the past and has been a leader in civil and political rights. Unfortunately, the country still perpetrates human rights abuses, especially in the treatment of refugees and Indigenous people,” she said.
“It’s important that Australia continues to grow its activist community, and continue to petition for changes so that we can be free of any human rights abuses.”
Jaime admits that activism will always be important in maintaining a society that is welcoming and caring of all people.
“I’ve really loved being able to use my voice to share stories and educate others on important issues that I’m passionate about,” she said.
Activism is working towards giving all people a voice, regardless of gender, skin colour, religion or sexuality and one of Jaime’s key moments for human rights wins was when the Same-Sex Marriage Bill passed.
“Though there is still work to be done for LGBTQI+ rights, same-sex marriage is a huge win and a true testament to the Australian spirit and values that make us Australian,” she said proudly.
“I learned that a lot of people are denied rights that I took for granted growing up all because of differences as simple as the country they were born, the colour of their skin, or the people they choose to love.”
Words by Jacqui O’Leary