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‘Combat stereotypes with stories’: Melbourne lawyer giving voice to Aboriginal communities

Meena Singh championing for change and improved outcomes in the Aboriginal Justice system. Source: Supplied by Meena Singh

Melbourne-based lawyer Meena Singh explains how her Fiji-Indian Aboriginal Australian heritage has shaped her perspective and shares her experience of navigating between different cultures.

Ms Singh has spent years advocating for Indigenous social justice and human rights as a Yorta Yorta and Indian woman, born and living on the lands of the Kulin Nation.

The Melbourne-based lawyer works in criminal and human rights law. She has worked with organisations such as Victoria Legal Aid, Djirra, the Victorian Legal Services and the Human Rights Law Centre.

“A lot of my work centres around supporting people to speak up or giving voice to people who have been historically excluded from the mainstream narrative and their stories haven’t been shared,” Ms Singh explains. 

She describes herself a "storyteller" whose key area of interest is to improve justice outcomes for Aboriginal people.

The best way to combat the existing stereotypes associated with Aboriginal people is to constantly tell the stories that challenge them.

Ms Singh explains that there is a gross overrepresentation of disadvantage for Aboriginal communities.

“An individual white person is never seen as representative of all the white people yet that’s exactly what happens with anyone who isn’t white. People would, however, judge a single Aboriginal person’s action and say ‘well what do you expect, they are Aboriginal',” says Ms Singh.

Meena says the way to challenge these prejudices is to get to the truth of the stories and history.

"Not only is it important to support Aboriginal people to tell their own stories, but also to recognise that Aboriginal communities have the solution to these issues and need to be supported to implement them," she says.

Listen to the podcast, where Ms Singh draws focus to topics such as the ongoing effects of colonisation, constitutional recognition, the 26 January debate and going beyond tokenistic reparations for Aboriginal people. 

Ms Singh has many stories to share, starting from her ancestors coming across to Fiji from India as indentured labour, her father naming her after a famous Indian film actress, her Aboriginal mother learning Hindi to communicate with family members and more.

Listen to the podcast in Hindi by clicking on the audio icon inside the picture at the top.  

Tune into SBS Hindi at 5 pm every day and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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