Point and Be Proud: marking National Reconciliation Week 2022

Point and Be Proud: marking National Reconciliation Week 2022

27 May 2022

A special guest shared his story and the success of a unique anti-racism program for young people with Orygen staff to help mark the start of National Reconciliation Week 2022.

Nathan Lovett-Murray, AFL legend and St Kilda Football Club’s Indigenous Programs Coordinator, is the creator of the club’s Point and Be Proud education program, and Executive Producer of award-winning documentary The Ripple Effect.

Point and Be Proud is designed to raise awareness of the ongoing and lasting effects of racism on individual mental health and wellbeing.

Program sessions are structured around a 20-minute version of The Ripple Effect, which explores racism in Australia through the eyes of Saints legend Nicky Winmar and other prominent athletes of colour. The aim of using the powerful documentary in this way is to help young people develop their understanding of the impact of racism, and increase their confidence to call it out. 

Mr Lovett-Murray, who played 145 AFL games for Essendon Football Club and has connections to the Gunditjamara, Yorta Yorta and Wamba Wamba tribes in Victoria, said the program had huge potential.

“As a boy, I remember thinking Nicky Winmar was a black superman and I wanted to take his story into schools. The message I’m delivering to students is ‘you can be a Nicky Winmar and stand up to racism’,” he said.

“If you’re racist or bully someone, that really affects their mental health. We want more people to call it out and let people know that behaviour won’t be tolerated.

“Students’ eyes are glued to the screen when they’re watching the documentary, and their responses really inspire me. They get it. It gives me hope that this is the generation that’s going to stamp out racism.”

Point and Be Proud was piloted in November 2021 to more than 200 Year 7, 8 and 9 students at schools in southern Melbourne.

Throughout the pilot, Orygen carried out an evaluation to examine whether the program had been successful in its key aims. Survey responses from 106 young people who took part in the program revealed a number of key findings:

  • reported increased knowledge relating to racism and discrimination;
  • reported increased confidence in terms of recognising racism or discrimination, calling out racist or discriminatory behaviour and help-seeking;
  • reported changes in prejudicial attitudes; and
  • reported changes in young people’s behavioural intentions (in terms of intervening when/if they witnessed racism).

Mr Lovett-Murray is hoping to roll out Point and Be Proud in schools across Australia.

“The feedback I get from students and teachers, you can see it’s working. They want more of it,” he said.

“I want to make this a national program; I want to get to as many schools as I can. We really can make change through education.”